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De Blasio Announces First 7 Miles Of Open Streets In NYC, Says Large Gatherings Will Not Be Tolerated

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Mayor Bill de Blasio says he expects New Yorkers to feel "spring fever" as warmer weather arrives amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"The bottom line is we can not let up now," de Blasio said.

The mayor revealed the first seven miles of streets that will open in and around parks to help with social distancing. It's part of a recently announced plan to open at least 40 - and up to 100 - miles of streets.

It is a change in course aimed at getting New Yorkers safely outside as the temperatures rise, reports CBS2's Dave Carlin.

A jog through Fort Tryon Park on Friday allowed this runner who gave CBS2 her first name only as Cecilia a comfortable amount of breathing and elbow room.

The space will shrink as warmer weather is brings more people.

"We all live in relatively small spaces so it's important to be able to go outside," said Cecilia.

The following streets will open as of Saturday:

4.5 Miles Inside Parks to Ease Crowding

  • Fort Tryon Park
  • Callahan-Kelly Park
  • Flushing Meadows
  • Grant Park
  • Forest Hill Park
  • Silver Lake Park

2.7 Miles of Streets Adjacent to Parks

  • Williamsbridge Oval
  • Prospect Park
  • Court Square
  • Stapleton Waterfront Park
  • Carl Schurz Park
  • Lt. William Tighe Triangle
  • Highbridge Park

"Today is a great first step and an exciting day for an entire city starved of adequate open space," said Council Speaker Corey Johnson. The Council is glad our efforts on this initiative have brought us this far, and we are eager to work with our colleagues in government, community groups, and our neighbors to keep expanding this program in a safe, effective, and enjoyable way. While we continue our fight against this awful virus, we need to give people the space they need to maintain proper social distancing, and I'm glad we're making progress towards that goal."

The mayor emphasized that gatherings will not be tolerated.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Coronavirus Update

"There's not going to be gatherings. I just want to be crystal clear. The minute the NYPD knows about a gathering, that gathering is over," he said. "If you want to get to low level transmission, you want to get to normalcy, you can't participate in a gathering, you can't condone a gathering, you can't tell anyone it's OK to look the other way. If you hear about a gathering, call 311 immediately. Report it."

De Blasio said he knows everyone wants the pandemic to be over, but the daily indicators - people admitted to hospitals, people currently in Health + Hospital ICUs, and percentage of people tested who are positive for COVID-19 - are what are guiding the city's policies, de Blasio said.

"The first thing they tell us is don't count your chickens before they're hatched. This virus is tragically very much alive and well and living in this city," the mayor said. "We have not beaten it."


Yesterday 2,637 people tested positive for coronavirus and 202 people died, de Blasio said.

"That is a huge number," the mayor said. "If I said these numbers to you three, four months ago, it would've been staggering. That that's what happened in a single day in New York City. It would've been staggering. You can't get numb here. We have to realize that numbers like that tell us there's still a real fight ahead, even if we're going to be tugged by that warmer weather. Even if we want it to be over, and lord knows we all want it to be over. We've got to look at those realities square in the eye."

The hospital admissions have decline over time, On March 1, there were 850 new admissions. On April 11, 383. By today, 136.

Web Extra: See de Blasio 5/1 Presentation (.pdf)

"That's still the number of people every single, new day that we're seeing going into the hospital," de Blasio said. He added that those numbers indicate that easing social restrictions would allow the disease to come roaring back.

The number of people in ICUs "tells us a lot of New Yorkers are still fighting for their lives," the mayor said. The improvement has not been as dramatic as the hospital admission. On April 14, there were 887 people in Health + Hospital ICUs. Today, it's, 704.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The percentage of people tested citywide who were positive has also been "decelerating," de Blasio said. The high point was 71% on April 1. Now, it's 23%.

The mayor said the numbers all show the city is still in the midst of widespread transmission of the virus.

The mayor lauded the progress so far but said it wasn't enough.

"The good news here is we are winning this fight," de Blasio said. "The bad news is we have not yet won."

He cautioned against "declaring victory prematurely."

The mayor paid tribute to EMT Paul Cary, a volunteer from Aurora, Colorado, who came to New York City to fight the pandemic and died of the disease.

PHOTO GALLERY: Coronavirus Shutdown 30 Days In

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