• Warm spring weather caused thousands of people to rush to New York City’s parks this weekend, despite stay-at-home orders.
  • But most of them appeared to be observing social distancing rules in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  • City officials were expecting crowds and sent out 1,000 police officers to monitor the situation, with many of them patrolling parks and even handing out free face masks.
  • Speaking about people gathering in the parks this weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “The nice weather is very much a threat to us.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Thousands of New Yorkers flocked to the city’s park this weekend enticed by the warm weather despite stay-at-home orders.

While people exercised, walked their dogs, and even enjoyed picnics in and around Central Park, it appeared they were still endeavoring to adhere to social-distancing measures.

City officials, who were expecting the large crowds, sent out 1,000 police officers to monitor the situation and hand out free face masks.

Scroll down to see photos of thousands of people gathering in New York city’s parks.

New Yorkers rushed to parks and open spaces on Saturday as the first weekend of May welcomed temperatures in the high 70s.

People fill Sheep Meadow in Central Park during the coronavirus pandemic in New York on May 2, 2020.

Source: New York Times

Thousands of people were sunbathing, doing exercise, walking their dogs, and even picnicking in and around Central Park.

People exercise around Central Park in New York City on May 2, 2020.

New York State, which has been one of the worst-affected in the country, is still under an executive order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that restricts any “nonessential gatherings” until at least May 15.

People fill Sheep Meadow in Central Park during the coronavirus pandemic on May 2, 2020, in New York City.

Source: New York Times

City officials were also aware that the warm weather would draw crowds, sending out 1,000 police officers to enforce social distancing measures and also give away free face masks.

Park enforcement officers stand as people fill Sheep Meadow in Central Park during the coronavirus pandemic on May 2, 2020 in New York City.

Source: CNN

But some people didn’t enjoy the police presence. “It’s Orwellian to be watched like this,” one park-goer told the New York Post.

Park enforcement officers stand as people are seen on Sheep Meadow in Central Park on May 2, 2020 in New York City.

Source: New York Post

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The crowds of people are making public officials nervous. In a radio interview on Friday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said: “The nice weather is very much a threat to us.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio holds a face shield as he speaks to the media during a visit to the Brooklyn Navy Yard on March 26, 2020.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

But de Blasio also said that it is “totally understandable” that people want to go out and get some fresh air.

“People have heard that we need them to stay home, overwhelmingly they have. Even with good weather, they’ve gone out for a while and they came back home,” he added.

Source: CNN

Parks have remained open in the city, with public health experts saying that they are generally regarded as a relatively low-risk environment for illness transmission.

People wear protective face masks in Central Park on May 2, 2020, in New York City.

Jennifer Nuzzo, an associate professor at the Department of Epidemiology at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to the New York Times: “There’s no reason a family can’t picnic in the park.”

However, Nuzzo also said that it’s difficult to determine whether the groups of people spotted in the park are from the same household or not. “It’s hard for the people who enforce this to know whether they’re dealing with a family or not,” she said.

Source: New York Times

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