In New York City and Washington, DC, people who’d been cooped up for weeks flocked to parks and open spaces on Saturday — and many of them appeared to be observing social distancing rules to combat Covid-19.
Though they live in the coronavirus epicenter, New Yorkers flooded Central Park as temperatures rose into the mid-70s. They spread blankets for sun bathing in Strawberry Fields and zoomed down paths on bikes.
The city government, knowing people would come out for the weather, put 1,000 officers on the street this weekend to enforce social distancing and also gave away free face masks.
Mayor Bill De Blasio told CNN on Saturday afternoon that its “totally understandable” that folks want to go out get some exercise and fresh air but adds the message has been “don’t linger too long, get back home” and “while you’re out there keep that face covering on, keep that social distance.”
He said enforcement numbers were “quite good,” while not going into specifics. “We expected this and we prepared for this,” he said.
Charisse Hill of the New York City Parks Department told CNN that while there is a volume of visitors in Central Park and Prospect Park, most are in compliance.
New York state is on “pause” through May 15, with residents required to wear masks in most public situations.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that coronavirus deaths in the state remain “obnoxiously and terrifyingly high.” State deaths were 299 as of May 1, up slightly from 289 from the previous 24 hours. New Covid-19 cases are down to 831.