New York Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday confirmed that people will now face fines if they don’t practice proper social distancing and that officials might resort to tearing down basketball hoops or soccer nets if residents fail to heed warnings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We’ve given enough warning; enough education,” Mr. de Blasio said. “If you … were in the park and an officer said, ‘Sir, you’re not practicing social distancing, I need you to move,’ and you said, ‘I’m not going to move,’ they’re going to say, ‘Sir, you’re about to be given a fine — this is your last chance.’ ”
“And if you don’t move or you don’t follow the instructions, you’re going to get a fine,” he told reporters.
Mr. de Blasio had announced over the weekend the fines could range from $250 to $500, though he said on Monday that noncompliance isn’t a major problem yet.
“If we see any basketball courts where there’s games going on and we’ve warned people to stop, we’re going to take down the rims,” he said. “We’re going to take out tennis nets; we’re going to take out soccer nets — whatever it takes.”
New York state had banned nonessential gatherings as part of its coronavirus response.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said recently they were asking people not to play close contact sports such as basketball in playgrounds.
Mr. de Blasio had been asked why playgrounds are remaining open in New York when nearby locations in New Jersey are closing playgrounds and parks.
“If we see it broadly all the playgrounds [will] be closed, but to date based on the sheer facts coming back from the police department, parks department, noncompliance is limited,” he said. “You will find some instances … but not enough to tell 8.6 million people they cannot have parks.”
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