The city is beginning to prepare for a long hot summer with closed beaches and residents remaining locked inside under stay-at-home orders, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday, warning that this summer will be very different from years past.
Barbecues, picnics, ball games and days at the beach or by the pool, all the activities New Yorkers love about summer, are going to be different "for the foreseeable future," de Blasio said at his daily press briefing.
"This is going to be a different summer than any summer we've experienced in the history of New York City," de Blasio said.
The city is preparing for the upcoming hot weather, which reached historic high temperatures last year, as it continues to follow strict social-distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The city is trying to reduce cases enough to meet the state's phase one reopening plan.
This weekend, de Blasio said the city will enhance patrols at the Rockaways, Coney Island and Orchard Beach, saying that beaches and pools are "not in the cards right now" and the city is working toward providing "misting oases" in seating areas as an alternative. Sports venues, auditoriums and other large venues may also be turned into cooling centers, he said.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced shortly after de Blasio's daily press briefing that the state's beaches would reopen for Memorial Day weekend, but the city's beaches will remain closed, said de Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer. Cuomo said local jurisdictions had the right to keep their beaches closed if they felt it wasn't safe.
"We are reviewing the guidelines the Governor laid out and will make all decisions based on the safety of New Yorkers," Meyer said in an email. "Beaches will not open on Memorial Day, but we are putting plans into place so that we can open beaches this summer if it's safe."
Rockaway Beach, Coney Island Beach and Orchard Beach, among others, are part of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and typically open on Memorial Day weekend, according the NYC Parks website.
New York City officials plan to spend $55 million to provide approximately 74,000 air conditioners to all low-income seniors, de Blasio said. He said the city will also expand subsidies on summer utility bills, which could skyrocket in the summer months as residents continue to stay at home.
"You remember those particularly hot days, it's not only uncomfortable, it's not only going to be a challenge in terms of social distancing and everything else we're dealing with, it can be dangerous," de Blasio said.
He added that these measures may not last through the entire summer, and health officials continue to make decisions on a day-by-day basis.
"We'll see what the future brings but not right now," de Blasio said.
New York City has already canceled concerts, festivals and parades, including the 2020 Pride march, through June as the city seeks to drive down its coronavirus infection rate.
While New York City's annual Fourth of July celebration will go on "one way or another," he said, the city is deliberating how and where fireworks will be held.
Cuomo extended the state's stay-at-home order on Friday to regions that haven't met the seven criteria required to begin a phased reopening, he said. New York City has only met four the seven metrics.
On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that his city is "clearly not ready yet."