Photo credit: Wong Maye-E/AP
ALBANY, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday the state's PAUSE order is being extended to the end of the month for regions that have not yet met the benchmarks for reopening, but also provided a glimmer of summer hope by saying a multi-state agreement has been reached to reopen beaches.
The PAUSE restrictions will continue until May 28, including here in New York City.
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It comes as five of the state's 10 regions entered Phase One of reopening Friday.
Central New York is the latest region to meet all seven requirements.
The first phase of reopening allows for construction, manufacturing, and retail curbside pickup to resume.
Landscaping, gardening businesses, and drive-in movie theaters can also open.
No businesses or events that draw large crowds from other regions will be permitted.
Meanwhile, Cuomo says state beaches in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware will be opening on Friday, May 22.
The agreement will allow for no more than 50 percent capacity and no group contact activities on the beach.
Concessions, picnic areas and playgrounds will remain closed.
Cuomo says social distancing efforts will be enforced.
The lifted restrictions do not include pools.
The state agreement does not apply to the city's beaches. The mayor technically has until May 20 to make a final decision, but he said on Friday that beaches in the Rockaways, Coney Island and the Bronx, and on Staten Island, would not open.
"It's painful because we would all love to go to the beach in the hot weather, but it's not safe yet," de Blasio said. "Beaches come with a whole lot of people getting together. We saw what happened in California and Florida. People started just immediately doing what they've always done. It's very difficult to create social distancing."'
The mixed messages seemed to undermine Cuomo’s plan to prevent people from rushing to one area’s beaches if beaches in their own backyard are closed.
"We are one multi-state region," Cuomo had said earlier Friday, explaining what would happen if one state opened beaches for Memorial Day and another didn't.
State Senator Todd Kaminsky Of Long Island has called on the mayor to open beaches.
“I am extremely worried about this situation, and it’s going to create problems," Kaminsky said. "We all need to be reading off the same music sheet here. If tens of thousands of people come to Long Island, it puts a huge amount of pressure on our beaches to try and maintain social distancing. Having city beaches closed helps nobody.”
NY1 visited Coney Island on Friday, where New Yorkers on the boardwalk had mixed feelings about whether or not the beaches should open.
"They should open them," said one New Yorker. "People are going to do what they want regardless, so you might as well just keep them safe and keep them open."
"I think he's right to restrain it as much as we can, but it feels good to go outside once in a while," said another.
The mayor said there will be an increased NYPD presence at beaches, with officers telling New Yorkers to stay socially distant and advise them of the rules in place.
WHO RUNS WHICH NEW YORK CITY BEACHES?
The governor's announcement Friday that New York beaches will open on May 22 was a confusing one in terms of New York City beaches, since some of those beaches are run by the city itself and others are run by the federal government - it depends on where you are located. Here is a list of which municipality runs which beach:
- Coney Island Beach and Boardwalk, Brooklyn - NYC Beach (local)
- Brighton Beach, Brooklyn - NYC Beach (local)
- Coney Island, Brooklyn - NYC Beach (local)
- Fort Tilden Beach, Queens - National Parks Beach (federal)
- Great Kills Park, Staten Island - National Parks Beach (federal)
- Jacob Riis Park, Queens - National Parks Beach (federal)
- Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn - NYC Beach (local)
- Orchard Beach, The Bronx - NYC Beach (local)
- Plumb Beach, Brooklyn - National Parks Beach (federal) (however, it is patrolled by NYC Parks)
- Rockaway Beach, Queens - NYC Beach (local)
- Midland Beach and FDR Boardwalk, Staten Island - NYC Beach (local)
- New Dorp Beach, Staten Island – NYC Beach (local)
- Cedar Grove Beach, Staten Island - NYC Beach (local)
- Wolfe's Pond Beach, Staten Island - NYC Beach (local)