Brooklyn Boro

Cuomo to shut down every playground in New York City to combat coronavirus

April 1, 2020 Mary Frost

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday that he is shutting down every playground in New York City because of noncompliance with social distancing rules put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Cuomo has been warning park goers for weeks that this might come to pass, as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise and hospitals have come to resemble war zones.

Following a visit to Prospect Park in Brooklyn in mid March, Cuomo slammed the number of “insensitive, arrogant, disrespectful” people jamming into the playgrounds and nearby farmer’s market.

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“There were all sorts of kids playing basketball … You can’t stay six feet away while playing basketball,” he fumed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has also been warning New Yorkers that the playgrounds might be shuttered. The city said earlier this week that it was removing the basketball hoops from 22 playgrounds due to repeated infractions, but refrained from closing the rest of the city’s playgrounds at that time.

Cuomo said that open spaces and parks would still be open for use, as long as people keep their distance.

A sign at Brooklyn Bridge Park warns that team sports and close contact in parks is forbidden during the coronavirus pandemic. Mayor de Blasio said Tuesday if people can’t keep at least six feet apart, he might move to shut down playgrounds. Photo: Mary Frost/ Brooklyn Eagle
A sign at Brooklyn Bridge Park warns that team sports and close contact in parks is forbidden during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Mary Frost/ Brooklyn Eagle

The number of coronavirus cases rose across the state by more than 10 percent to 83,712 on Wednesday, Cuomo said during his regular press conference. New York City has 47,439 cases, with 12,226 people hospitalized  and 3,022 in intensive care. At least 1,941 people in New York state have died, he said.

Cuomo described various models for predicting peak coronavirus cases and the projected number of deaths. One model, based on limited social distancing, predicts an apex at the end of April, with 110,000 hospital beds and 37,000 ventilators needed for COVID-19 patients.


Another model shows that high compliance with social distancing could result in a need for only 75,000 hospital beds and 25,000 ventilators at the apex.

The Gates Foundation projects that the death toll could hit 16,000 in New York state and 93,000 nationwide, the governor said.


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