#Local officials can decide when pools, playgrounds reopen: Gov. Cuomo

#Local officials can decide when pools, playgrounds reopen: Gov. Cuomo

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that he will allow local governments across the state to decide whether to open playgrounds and pools as regions continue phased reopenings from their coronavirus-induced shutdowns.

“Public pools and playgrounds, we’re going to leave to local governments,” Cuomo said during his daily press briefing in Albany, adding, “But they have to use their judgment here.”

Those recreational facilities still remain closed in New York City, and Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his own City Hall press conference Thursday that “the day is coming” when playgrounds will reopen.

“It’s not here yet, but the day is coming when we’ll be able to open them again,” Hizzoner said. “We don’t have a timeline yet. It will be absolutely connected to how we do on fighting back the disease.”

De Blasio spokeswoman Jane Meyer later told The Post, “We are watching health indicators closely and simultaneously working on a plan so when it’s safe to open playgrounds, we can.”

While battling the COVID-19 crisis, the mayor cut $12 million for pools from the city’s Parks Department budget, but he said this week the public facilities could open sometime this summer.

Meanwhile, five regions in the Empire State — Central New York, Mohawk Valley, the Finger Lakes, North Country and the Southern Tier — will enter Phase Three of the state’s four-phased reopening plan Friday, Cuomo said.

In Phase Three, restaurants can open for both outdoor and indoor dining with restrictions, as well as all places that sell food, including bars. Nail salons, massage parlors and tattoo shops can also reopen in Phase Three.

Cuomo cautioned for businesses to “please follow the guidelines and do what is permissible to do.”

The governor warned that businesses that do violate the rules can “lose” their “right to operate.”

“Short-term gain isn’t worth the long term,” Cuomo said.

Though the state’s coronavirus metrics have dramatically plunged, Cuomo said, “This COVID has not gone away.”

“COVID is still out there. It’s increasing in 21 states,” he said as he touted how New York has “done extraordinarily well” in its reopening process.

“Our reopening is based on the numbers. Our reopening is phased and because New Yorkers are smart and they’ve been diligent,” said Cuomo, who noted, “Everything has gone exactly right” when it comes to the state’s reopening.

New York City — the hardest hit region in the state — entered Phase One of reopening on Monday.

For nearly the last two weeks, thousands have taken to the streets in the Big Apple in protest of the May 25 Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd — and Cuomo said the effects of the mass protests on the city’s coronavirus statistics remain to be seen.

“We also had the largest number of protesters out there and we still don’t know what the effect is,” he said. “That may not show up for a couple of weeks.”

Additional reporting by Julia Marsh


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