'We're not ready yet': Mayor says NYC beaches will remain closed for Memorial Day weekend
Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated at a press briefing on the COVID-19 response Sunday that the city's beaches will remain closed for Memorial Day weekend.
While the mayor noted that other regions and municipalities in the tri-state area are planning to open beaches, he said, "We're not ready yet."
He said it's not the right time to open them in the middle of the crisis, based on pandemic data indicators. Swimming will not be permitted and there will not be lifeguards on duty, although the mayor didn't rule out reopening city beaches later in the season.
Beach walking by local community residents is permitted, but the mayor said that if the city starts to see people congregating, swimming or playing sports, officials will take further measures -- including potentially installing fencing.
It comes after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday that state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware would be open.
-The mayor begins by thanking some of the city's partners who stepped up in the hour of need, including CityMD. The mayor detailed a partnership with the urgent care provider to step up testing across the city.
-De Blasio discussed the ramping up of contact tracing to begin tracking cases of the virus in the city. A first group of 500 tracers have completed training, with another 1,000 in training now. Field training will take place int he next few weeks, and the mayor says the "vast army of tracers" will grow to more than 5,000 before "this is all over."
-The city is hiring resource navigators to help patients who have to stay in isolation while they recover. Those navigators will help them get all the services they need while they stay in a hotel to recover including laundry, transportation and more.
-The mayor described antibody testing efforts, including for first responders. He detailed five locations across the city where those tests can be obtained to determine virus exposure.
-De Blasio detailed a critical shortage of blood in the city, saying the center only has a few days' supply. He urged New Yorkers to do their part by stepping up to donate. Cancellations of drives have seen the blood supply dwindle. He's urging anyone who can to make an appointment online at NYBC.org or calling 800-933-2566.
-On PIMS, the pediatric inflammatory syndrome affecting children, de Blasio says there are 137 confirmed cases in the city, including 66 cases with a positive COVID-19 test or antibodies. The city has previously seen one fatality from it.
-The mayor urged parents to carefully watch kids for symptoms, including persistent fever, rash and stomach pain.
-Mayor de Blasio says the city will not follow other municapilities by opening beaches for Memorial Day weekend. He says it's not the right time to do it based on the pandemic indicators, saying, "We're not ready yet." Swimming will not permitted and there will not be lifeguards on duty, although the mayor doesn't rule out opening NYC beaches later in the season. Beach walking will be allowed, but the mayor says if the city starts to see people congregating or swimming, they will take further measures -- including potentially installing fencing.
PHOTOS: Countries around the world cope with COVID-19