'We need to have a plan': City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on safely reopening beaches

Maya Rajamani
May 22, 2020 - 10:58 am

    NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The City Council will soon release a plan focused on safely reopening New York City’s beaches as the weather warms up, Speaker Corey Johnson said in an interview with 1010 WINS on Friday. 

    Beaches in New York City are currently closed for swimming and beach sports — though walking, running and exercising are still allowed, the city’s Parks Department website notes. 

    In an interview with 1010 WINS’ Brigitte Quinn Friday morning, Johnson said the city must have a “workable plan” for reopening its beaches. 

    “We know that as the weather gets warmer, and it’s nice outside, people are growing restless,” he said. “New Yorkers have done a really incredible job of coming together, flattening the curve, and sort of stopping the spread. And now we need to give them a plan on how to use the beaches safely.” 

    Johnson said he expected the City Council to release a beach-focused plan “in the coming days," though he didn't provide an exact timeline.

    “Ultimately, it’s going to be up to (Mayor Bill de Blasio) and (Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver) and his agencies, but we’re going to lay out ideas that we think would actually work to allow New Yorkers the possibility to have a place to cool off,” he said. 

    “Because my fear is that this is going to affect the lower income people in a more difficult way, where if you’re wealthier and you have a weekend home and you can get away this summer, you will,” he explained. “But if you’re stuck here in New York City, you’re not going to have the ability to cool off in the way that you should be able to.” 

    “I think it’s really important that we have something in place before the weather starts reaching the 80s, and it’s humid, and people want to get in the water,” he added. 

    Asked what the City Council’s plan would involve, Johnson said he hoped it would include safety measures like placing portable handwashing and hand sanitizing stations in strategic locations, doling out masks on boardwalks and at beach entrances and posting multilingual signage emblazoned with information about social distancing. 

    The plan will also address mass transit-related issues, he said. 

    “How do we get people out to the beaches safely without having crowded subways? It’s a concern,” he said. “We need to have a plan — maybe we have additional trains, or you could have increased bus service, or pop-up bike lanes in certain places.” 

    “We need to have a plan and be creative,” he added.