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Mayor De Blasio Says NYC Will Not Reopen Beaches For Memorial Day Weekend, May Deploy Fencing If Necessary

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio reiterated New York City beaches will not be open for swimming Memorial Day Weekend.

De Blasio said the city is not yet ready to open beaches.

"I've said before, I'm going to say again, we are not opening our beaches on Memorial Day, we are not opening our beaches in the near term. It's not safe. It is not the right thing to do in the epicenter of this crisis," the mayor said. "Imagine the scene on the a train with people going out to the Rockaways, or any other train where people go to the beach, or the buses. We're not going to allow that crowding to happen. So the word is no, not yet. Not now, beaches are not open for swimming, they're not open for all the normal things people do in beach season. "

People will be allowed to walk on the beach and enjoy it, as long as they preserve social distancing.

Fencing will be ready to be deployed, if necessary.

"We're putting fencing in and in reserve that could close off the beaches as needed. It's certainly not something I want to do or my team here at City Hall wants to do. I know the Parks Department doesn't want to do it, but we will be ready if we have to. So what you'll see in the coming days is fencing put in place, ready to be implemented," de Blasio said.  "No swimming, no parties, no sports, no gatherings. We're going to give people a chance to get it right. And I believe in New Yorkers."


The mayor said the fencing will only be used if there are "consistent problems."

As far as reports of people congregating outside bars and at restaurants in nice weather?

"I'm not comfortable at all with people congregating outside bars. It's the same rule. If you start to form groups of people, and then you know 2, 3, 5 becomes 6, becomes 10, it becomes 15. That violates what we're saying about social distancing... and it puts lives in danger," de Blasio said.

De Blasio said the NYPD and Sheriff's Department will be paying close attention to bars on the Upper East Side in particular following reports of gatherings.

The mayor said he has spoken with Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot, who has come under fire for remarks she allegedly made in a phone conversation with NYPD Chief Terence Monahan.

"We had a good and constructive conversation. We talked about the concerns that I've raised, and others have raised, about her conversation with Chief Monahan. I told her I thought it was important for her to address that publicly. And I believe she'll be doing that soon," he said.

The mayor said there are now 137 cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome in the city, and that 66 of those cases were either positive for COVID-19 or had coronavirus antibodies.

WATCH: Mayor Bill de Blasio Gives Daily Coronavirus Briefing

"And as I've said for days, we lost a child to this syndrome, and we never want to lose another child to it. So we're doing a huge outreach effort citywide, we're coordinating with health care providers and particularly pediatricians all over the city," de Blasio said. "But right now what we need the most is protect every child, so every parent, every family member out there, you see those symptoms of fever, rash, vomiting, you see any of them - particularly in combination - please immediately call your doctor or your health care provider. If you don't have one call 311."

De Blasio announced that CityMD Urgent Care will be partnering with the New York City to provide coronavirus diagnostic testing at 123 sites across the city. That will enable 6,000 tests a day. The sites are walk-in and are open seven days a week. CityMD has agreed to cover the cost if people do not have insurance, de Blasio said.

New York City will now be able to test 20,000 people a day, a benchmark that has happened ahead of schedule, the mayor said.

De Blasio said the first group of 1,000 contact tracers trained by Johns Hopkins will start working in New York City by the end of the month, with the first 100 operational by May 24.

"This is just the beginning, as I have said. We expect the army of tracers to grow to at least 5,000 - could be between 5,000 and 10,000 before this is all over - because we want to be able to reach everyone who needs that connection, that support, that ability to find out what's happening," de Blasio said. "This vast army is coming together very, very quickly."

Community based organizations will hire several hundred "resource navigators" to help people who need to be isolated get all the help and resources they need, the mayor said.

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

New Yorkers all across the city can now sign up for antibody testing, which is by appointment only. To make an appointment, CLICK HERE or call 1-888-279-0967.

The testing is being conducted at:

  • The Bronx: 40-06 Third Avenue
  • Brooklyn: NYPD Community Center in East New York at 127 Pennsylvania Avenue
  • Manhattan: Manhattanville Health Center at 21 Old Broadway
  • Queens: 34-09 Queens Boulevard
  • Staten Island: St. John Villa Academy at 57 Cleveland Place

The mayor issued an urgent appeal for blood donations, which are way down as many blood drives have been cancelled.

"Unless we have a bigger supply of blood, some surgeries can not move forward," the mayor said. "If you can give blood, we need you."

To donate blood, click here or call 800-933-2566.

As far as the daily indicators go:

  • People admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19 is unchanged at 77
  • People in ICUs down to 469 from 506
  • Percentage of people testing positive down to 11% from 13%
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