Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said he’s giving the city 24 hours to find a way to keep defiant city residents from flocking to parks amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has to be reduced and it has to be reduced fast, and that’s why I’m asking for a plan from them in 24 hours,” Cuomo said during a press briefing, referring to Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“I could make those decisions in NYC,” the governor threatened. “But I think they’re in a better position to do it.”
“They know the problem,” he said. “They see it. I mean, it’s all over the place. It’s not that you need a microscope to find this. It’s all over the city. Now, maybe it was a nice day yesterday, whatever.”
Warmer weather in recent days has prompted many New Yorkers suffering from COVID-19 cabin fever to head outdoors — including the city’s iconic chess players who continue to hit the parks.
The five boroughs are the epicenter for the deadly COVID-19 bug, with 9,654 confirmed cases and 63 deaths as of Sunday morning. City officials said 1,450 people were hospitalized as of Saturday evening, with at least 370 of them in intensive care.
Last week, Cuomo ordered all non-essential businesses closed starting at 8 p.m. Sunday in an attempt to halt the spread of the virus — but was dismayed to see crowds still gathering at the parks on Saturday.
In a tweet Sunday, Johnson said he was on the same page as the governor.
“I support @NYGovCuomo’s call to reduce density in city parks,” the speaker wrote. “We must #StopTheSpread. The @NYCCouncil will do all we can to make this happen.”
“As I said last week, we must get creative, including closing streets to maximize pedestrian space.”
Cuomo, who was in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park over the weekend, suggested city officials close off some streets so stir-crazy New Yorkers could stretch their legs without congregating at the parks.
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