Coronavirus in New York City: De Blasio suggests limiting use of parks, drawing criticism

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is drawing criticism Thursday after suggesting that limiting use of the Big Apple's green spaces to prevent the spread of coronavirus is a “good direction."

His comments come as the weather warms up in New York City and residents -- many of whom have hunkered down in densely packed apartments for months -- want to take advantage of the outdoors.

“There are certain parks where just the configuration of the park lends itself to overcrowding and we are working on strategies right now to address that. And we will have more to say on that tomorrow,” De Blasio said during his daily press conference Thursday, noting that “we have to limit the number of people going in.”

New Yorkers packed Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend as temperatures soared into the 70s. The crowds -- and concerns about police enforcing social distancing measures -- have prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce Thursday that future use of some of the city's green spaces might be limited. (AP)

New Yorkers packed Brooklyn's Prospect Park this past weekend as temperatures soared into the 70s. The crowds -- and concerns about police enforcing social distancing measures -- have prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce Thursday that future use of some of the city's green spaces might be limited. (AP)

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“It’s not that many places, honestly, but wherever that is the case, we are going to work with a protocol to do that. It will take some experimentation," he added. “It will take some effort to make sure it works, but I think it’s a good direction.”

De Blasio said he had conversations with New York City’s police commissioner and other agencies on the matter. Some of the city’s officers this week decried having to enforce social distancing guidelines in places like parks, fearing backlash.

Images of crowded parks in New York City from this past weekend also have sparked debate over which residents are properly social distancing.

DE BLASIO CRITICIZED FOR 'NON-ESSENTIAL' TRIP TO BROOKLYN PARK

But the criticism already is pouring over De Blasio’s latest announcement.

“Bill de Blasio's biggest ‘solutions’ over the past two weeks have involved shutting the subways and shutting parks. Why is this guy still the mayor of New York City?” one Twitter user posted.

“De Blasio governs almost entirely based on reaction to viral photos and videos and it is a terrible, terrible way to manage a health crisis,” added another.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in his daily press conference, announced that the state’s moratorium on evictions will be extended from June to August 20 and residents who are struggling to pay rent during the health crisis can use their security deposits as payments instead.

“No one can be evicted for non-payment of rent, residents or commercial, because of COVID, until August 20,” Cuomo said, noting that the situation will be re-evaluated before that date. “I hope it gives families a deep breath.”