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‘Problem’ playgrounds around New York shut down to stop coronavirus spread

The city is locking up 10 New York City “problem” playgrounds to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced during a Tuesday press conference at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. 

The decision comes after nearly two weeks of threats from the mayor to close down city park playgrounds if New Yorkers did not take social distancing seriously during the New York state PAUSE order. 

“My goal again is to try to preserve as many as possible if people follow the rules and if people will not follow the rules, we will continue to shut them down aggressively,” said de Blasio during a press conference at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens. 

The 10 playgrounds set to close are the Mauro Playground in Queens, two playgrounds at Clove Lake Park in Staten Island, the Middleton Playground in Williamsburg, two playgrounds at Fort Greene Park, Brighton Playground, Watson Gleason Playground in the Bronx, Fort Tryon Playground, Jacob Javits Playground and Raoul Wallenberg Playground in Washington Heights, according to the mayor’s spokesperson Freddi Goldstein.  

Earlier in March, Governor Andrew Cuomo asked Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to come up with a plan with in 24 hours on how to better enforce social distancing rules at city parks.

On March 17, Mayor de Blasio announced that more police officers and public park agents would enforce social distancing rules in parks and gave his first public warning on possible park closures. 

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