Mayor praises New Yorkers for warm weather social distancing

NEW YORK (AP) — New Yorkers were mostly adhering to social distancing rules while outside enjoying the warmest weekend in a spring clouded by the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.

“The big story here is what New Yorkers have done right,” de Blasio said.

Tens of thousands of people flocked to the city’s parks and public spaces Saturday as temperatures hit the low-70s (about 23 degrees Celsius).

Police commissioner Dermot Shea said officers issued 51 summonses on Saturday, including 43 in parks. Shea said he was aware of three arrests.

About 1,000 police officers were out on foot, bicycles, in patrol cars and even on horseback to enforce public health restrictions requiring people — as well as couples, families and other small groups living under the same roof — to keep 6 feet away from others. Police had to break up some large gatherings and stop people from playing team sports, which are still banned.

Officers were also handing out face masks, which people are required to wear when social distancing is not possible.

“The vast majority of New Yorkers have really risen to the challenge,” de Blasio said, though he and Shea acknowledged some hiccups, including big crowds at Manhattan’s Christopher Street Pier and Brooklyn’s Domino Park.

De Blasio said he’s also asked police to increase patrols Sunday in Manhattan’s Hudson River Park after crowding issues there on Saturday.

In another incident, Shea said police seized six motorcycles in Astoria Park in Queens on Saturday, including two that were found to have been stolen.

Still, Shea said, the vast majority of New Yorkers behaved.

“We had tens of thousands of interactions with people all across the city yesterday, most of them all without having to issue any type of enforcement activity,” Shea said. “New Yorkers are exhibiting extreme patience for the last two months. We’re going to ask for a little more of it.”

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