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25 Mar, 2020 17:04

New York closing streets, opening to pedestrian traffic to fight ‘problem’ parks where social distancing rules not being followed

New York closing streets, opening to pedestrian traffic to fight ‘problem’ parks where social distancing rules not being followed

As New York continues to deal with a daily rise in coronavirus cases, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a plan to fight social density issues by closing streets and banning contact sports.

Cuomo announced New York City will soon be “piloting” a program that will see the closure of some streets to cars. The streets would then be open to pedestrian traffic. 

The governor said the program is in direct response to city parks, which he admitted have become a “problem,” as many individuals are not following social distancing rules, and the density of people puts them and others at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus. 

“People want to walk. They want to go out and get some air. You want a less dense area, so pilot closing streets to cars, opening streets to pedestrians,” Cuomo said, adding that the plan is only possible at the moment because there is far less traffic than normal.

Fighting social density is the latest focus for the state, which announced on Wednesday that confirmed cases have risen to 30,811 and deaths from coronavirus have topped 200. Cuomo has said projections show the “apex” of coronavirus cases in the state is still a few weeks away, which is why they are scrambling to increase hospital capacity and stocks of supplies such as ventilators.

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Further efforts to promote social distancing include “mandatory social density” in public places like playgrounds and parks. Cuomo said this specifically relates to things like contact sports, which are no longer allowed.

“No basketball,” the governor said as an example.

Cuomo says if the rules of social distancing are not followed, he will close public areas such as playgrounds. 

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