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NYC to educationally enforce social distancing in parks

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City leaders responded to Governor Cuomo's order to reduce density in the parks on Sunday.

Cuomo had expressed frustration in the number of people who went outside acting like it was just another bright, sunny Saturday.

"This is not life as usual," he said. "This is just a mistake! It is a mistake. It is insensitive, arrogant, self- destructive, disrespectful to other people, and it has to stop and it has to stop now."

Cuomo said he told both Mayor de Blasio and City Council speaker Corey Johnson that this is a problem in New York City that requires an immediate plan to correct.

"24 hours so we can approve it," he said. "There are many options. You have much less traffic in New York City because non-essential workers aren't going to work. Get creative. Open streets to reduce the density. You want to go for a walk, God bless you. Go for run, God bless you. But let's open streets, let's open spaces. That is where people should be."

At an afternoon news conference, Mayor de Blasio said the NYPD will educationally enforce that people must social distance when they go outdoors for exercise or to visit a park.

"You have to socially distance. You can't do it the way you used to. You can't play team sports at this point. It is going to be unfortunately quite a while before that is possible again. There is no more gatherings, and no more events or big barbeques, and all of that is gone for now. It is not gone forever, but it is gone certainly for weeks and probably for months, and at some point we will able to resume a more normal life, but for now when you are going to the park, you are going for your own exercise," he said.

The mayor added that playgrounds will remain open for now, but families must also abide by the social distancing rules. City officials will review if people are obeying those guidelines later in the week.

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