Coney Island and Manhattan beaches are two of the city’s eight public beaches that will allow swimming starting on July 1.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement on Wednesday that lifeguards will be on duty at the beaches daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Swimming will be permitted only during those hours.
“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back this virus and to put us back on the path to a safe reopening,” said de Blasio. “This summer is still unlike any in our history, but now we will all have the opportunity to cool off and swim at our cherished beaches.”
Alexandra Silversmith, executive director of the Alliance for Coney Island, is happy that beach access is being expanded because it will help local businesses.
“We are excited to hear that beaches will open for swimming on July 1st and know this will be a welcome reprieve for New Yorkers from the summer heat,” she said. “Many of our food establishments and bars are now open with outdoor seating and our retail shops are open and ready for beachgoers. We encourage New Yorkers to join us for safe outdoor activities on the beach and boardwalk and to support our small business community when they visit.”
The mayor said that NYC Parks ambassadors will continue to staff the beaches, handing out masks and educating visitors about maintaining safe distancing.
Not everyone is happy with the plan. Councilmember Mark Treyger said he was concerned about a lack of resources around the Coney Island beach.
“Mayor opens beaches on 7/1 w/out committing to outdoor hand washing stations, which will force long lines at few indoor comfort stations,” he wrote on Twitter. “He proposes cutting Parks staff & refuses to hire local youth to be social distance ambassadors. Decisions w/out smart planning is negligence.”
The plan is that if certain sections of the beach become too crowded, visitors will be directed to less crowded areas. All New Yorkers are advised to wash and sanitize their hands, wear a face covering and maintain distance between individuals and small groups.
“Our beaches have long been a key component of a traditional New York City summer,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “While the past few months have been incredibly challenging, we are excited to bring our beaches back for the season.
“We want all New Yorkers to enjoy the surf and sand, but more than ever we want everyone to keep safety first. From being water safe and only swimming when a lifeguard is on duty, to adhering to social distancing guidelines and wearing a face covering, it is important that we are cautious and responsible when we hit the beach this summer.”