It’s time to hit the beach - well, kind of.
On Coney Island Thursday, the NYPD made it clear what will be allowed this Memorial Day Weekend at city-run beaches because of the coronavirus.
"Our beaches are open, but the water is not open for swimming," said NYPD Assistant Chief Brian Conroy, who is the commanding officer in Brooklyn South. "You can go in ankle-deep, wade in the water. Surfers will be allowed into the water."
The city says it doesn’t want people gathering in large groups on the beach or playing organized sports.
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"There are about 5,000 school safety agents that will be deployed throughout the city in over 100 parks," said Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes, the school safety commanding officer. "And their sole purpose will be to hand out masks, as well as educating individuals."
The NYPD says its personnel won't be responsible for enforcing social distancing rules on beaches. Swimming is off limits because lifeguards will not be on duty. The NYPD and Parks Department will try to keep people out of the surf.
With many looking to go outdoors to celebrate the start of the summer season, the NYPD knows it will have a tough job this weekend all across the city.
Last weekend, people hit the bars on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to drink and listen to music. In Brownsville, Brooklyn, dozens of people danced in the street and on cars as loud music played at the Marcus Garvey Village, which is an apartment complex. Very few people wore masks, and no one was social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus. Videos of the gathering titled "Quarantine Life" were posted on social media.
"A lot of younger folks think this is not real," said Al Mathieu, who is the founder of Brownsville Think Tank Matters Inc, a community advocate group that has been handing out masks and gloves, as well as educating people in the community about the virus.
"I'm also telling them this is their community. They should be more careful or concerned about their community and not let the police them," Mathieu added. "They should be policing their own community."
Communities of color have clashed with NYPD officers over what they called unfair enforcement of social distancing regulations.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told his officers to make sure they are wearing their masks as they try to encourage people to follow coronavirus regulations. He admits there have been numerous complaints about cops not wearing them.