Coronavirus News: You can walk on the sand, but NYC beaches remain closed for the holiday weekend

CONEY ISLAND, Brooklyn (WABC) -- On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio detailed his expectations for city beaches for the holiday weekend, encouraging people to stay away.

The sidewalks of Coney Island were largely empty on Monday.

The world-famous boardwalk was wide-open and the beaches were practically deserted.

By this holiday weekend, it's likely to look a lot different. Which is why city officials are ready to fence it off, if it comes to that.

"The fencing will be there, but it won't be implemented at first. We're hoping everyone just listens to the rules, follows the rules," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "No swimming, no sports, no gathering, no parties. Just common sense. Observe social distancing. If you walk on the beach, do it for a limited period of time, get back home like everyone else."

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Mayor Bill de Blasio if the city doesn't see people following the rules on beaches, the rules will become stricter.



With every day that goes by, social distancing is becoming more of a challenge.

This past weekend, people gathered outside bars on the Lower East Side.

Experts say testing is the key to easing social distancing restrictions. And on Monday, two new testing sites opened in the city, making quick COVID-19 diagnosis available to thousands more New Yorkers.

"The test kits, the test sites, the labs, the tracers, all of these pieces are coming together to give us the huge robust test and trace program we need to push back this disease and move forward in this city," de Blasio said.

As the state's leading COVID-19 indicators continue to trend downward, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, encouraged professional sports teams to take steps toward re-opening in empty arenas.

"Why wait until you can fill a stadium before you start to bring the team back? And if you can televise it in the meantime, great," Cuomo said.

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