BROOKLYN – Summer is finally here! After months of quarantine, the Mayor announced that beaches will be opening on July 1. He also announced the expansion of Cool It! NYC, a plan to help New Yorkers beat the heat this summer.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story late on Tuesday night, and the next day, Mayor Bill de Blasio went on to Twitter to say, “The rumors are true: NYC beaches will open for swimming on July 1. Let’s keep playing it safe: social distance & face coverings, even at the beach!”
“New Yorkers have worked hard to fight back this virus and to put us back on the path to a safe reopening,” he said. “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.”
Swiming will be allowed in the City’s eight public beaches and only when lifeguards are present from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Brooklyn, those beaches include Coney Island Beach and Manhattan Beach. To make sure beaches are safe, NYC Parks Ambassadors will continue to staff the beaches, handing out masks, and educating people about maintaining safe distancing. According to the Mayor’s office, if certain sections of the beach become too crowded, visitors will be directed to less crowded areas.
“Our beaches have long been a key component of a traditional New York City summer. While the past few months have been incredibly challenging, we are excited to bring our beaches back for the season,” NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver said. “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,” Silver continued. “It is important that we are cautious and responsible when we hit the beach this summer.”
In addition to the opening of the beaches, the City will be installing air conditioners for low-income seniors, expanding the number of outdoor cooling elements available for New Yorkers heat, and refining existing programs. NYC Parks is highlighting the existing 950 cooling elements citywide with a Cool It! NYC map. According to the Mayor’s office, NYC Parks has identified locations where up to 250 new outdoor cooling elements — including spray showers, misting features, and hydrants– will be added to parks during extreme heat.
“This summer will be unlike any other in New York City history, and we’re focused on safety first,” de Blasio said. “From spray showers to misters to fire hydrants, we’re getting creative with how our families can stay cool during periods of extreme heat.”
Free Air Conditioners For Seniors
“One of the things we’ve been doing is giving out free air conditioners to low-income seniors,” Mayor said in his update this morning.”So far, 37,000 senior households have registered to get a free air conditioner. 23,000 of those, private homes. 14,000 in NYCHA, public housing. And to date 18,000 units have been installed, about half already installed. And now we’re installing new ones at a rate of 1,500 air conditioning units per day. So, it’s moving real fast ahead of the big heat that’s coming up to make sure our seniors can stay cool.”
Spray Caps on Hydrants
New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and FDNY will also install spray caps on 320 hydrants, focusing on areas hardest hit by Coronavirus first. If you want one opened, you can request by calling 311.
“Hot weather can kill and these cooling initiatives are critical to keeping people safe through the summer,” Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said. “I also encourage New Yorkers to check on family, friends, and neighbors who are at risk of extreme heat—especially those with chronic physical and mental health conditions—and help them get to a Cooling Center or another cool place if needed.”