COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-03-23

Sunday, March 22, 2020, Mayor de Blasio - Parks and Playgrounds

We need to ensure that if people want a little exercise in their day that they can do that the right way. It is absolutely normal and human to want to get outside, get a little bit of exercise. But I remind you, the pause is all about social distancing. It is all about protecting ourselves and our families and each other. When we say you can go out for some exercise, we are not saying you can linger. We're not saying you can make a day of it. We're saying, go out, get a minimum amount of exercise, get what you need, and then get back in the doors. Same with grocery shopping. Go get what you need. Get back inside. You got to go to the pharmacy, get what you need, get back inside.

So, folks will go to their parks. You want to get some exercise, you want to go for a run, whatever it is, that's normal. You can't do it the way you're used to. You can't play team sports at this point. It's going to be unfortunately quite a while before that's possible again. There's no more gatherings. There's no more events. There's no more big barbecues. All that is gone for now. It's not gone forever. It's gone certainly for weeks, probably for months. At some point we'll be able to resume a more normal life, but for now, when you go to the park, you're going for your own exercise.

Now, you might say, well, wait a minute, what if it's a parent going with their child and they live under the same roof? Of course, you're already living with someone under the same roof or a couple that lives together. People who live under the same roof and are already exposed to each other all day long, they already have a different reality and they don't need to distance from each other because they're already in constant contact with each other. So, if a mom goes to the playground with her child, obviously she's already in constant contact with that child. That's different than if that child came in contact with a child from another family or that mom came in contact with a mom from a different family.

If you're going to go on a playground, you have to take full responsibility for the situation. We cannot have overcrowding on a playground. If there are some people already on the playground and itís starting to get to you can't keep six feet away from people who are not part of your family, donít go on the playground. If you go the playground, you need to keep your children away from children who are not part of your family. That's your responsibility. If you don't feel you can do it, don't go to the playground.

Some parents have said, will the playgrounds be cleaned and sanitized? The answer, just a real blunt, New York City answer is no. They never have been. They can't be in this situation. It would take a Herculean effort every five minutes, literally, that we simply can't do. If your kids go to a playground, you might want them to not be on certain types of equipment or any type of equipment. You might say, I don't want to go to a playground. I just want my kids to run around in an open area.

If people are responsible about use of the playgrounds, and we believe it's a good outlet for kids who are only going to get in a short period of exercise each day, we'll keep them open. If we feel that they are not being handled properly. If we feel that people are taking advantage in the wrong way of the situation or not paying attention to the rules, or it's creating something that's just not supportable, we'll have to at that point strongly consider shutting them down.
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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