New York beaches will be OPEN for Memorial Day weekend

New York state beaches will be open for Memorial Day Weekend, Gov. Cuomo announced on Friday in another indicator of slowly undoing the statewide lockdown.  

Local agencies can decide not to open them, but if they choose to they must meet Cuomo’s guidelines.

The decision was made in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut, which previously announced May 22 reopenings for their beaches. 

He said on Friday that he had to do the same for New York to avoid people from the state flocking to New Jersey or Connecitcut’s shores and potentially sparking another outbreak.  

Half the normal amount of people will be allowed and it will be enforced at parking lots. People must stay 6ft apart and if they are unable to, they must wear masks. 

The announcement on Friday came as the daily death count in New York reached 132 – its lowest since March 26. 


New York’s beaches will reopen on May 22 for Memorial Day Weekend, the governor announced on Friday. Pictured, beach goers in the Hamptons earlier this month

Police officers patrol the boardwalk at Coney Island on May 12. The beach will be able to reopen from May 22 but Mayor de Blasio must decide if it should

Police officers patrol the boardwalk at Coney Island on May 12. The beach will be able to reopen from May 22 but Mayor de Blasio must decide if it should 

There have now been more than 22,434 across the state since the virus hit in mid March. 

While the beaches will reopen, concession stands will not be open to avoid people lining up for food and drinks, Cuomo said. 

Five rural regions of New York start reopening on Friday with curbside retail, manufacturing and construction jobs. 

Gov. Cuomo speaking on Friday at his briefing

Gov. Cuomo speaking on Friday at his briefing

It is the first phase of a four-phase plan to fully reopen that could take two months to roll out. 

New York City is not yet ready to reopen; it still does not have enough free hospital beds and the number of new daily hospitalizations is still too high. 

Cuomo on Friday warned that while restrictions may start to soften, people should not become complacent and think there is no longer a risk.

‘The amount of personal responsibility here to keep one’s self safe, I cannot stress highly enough. Do not play with this virus. 

‘I can be asymptomatic and not know that I have it but I can put my hand down on this table, you can come touch this table three hours from now and pick up the virus. 

‘I can walk into a store, put my hand on a stainless steel counter, you can come in the store the next day, put your hand on that counter and pick up the virus. 

‘I don’t care how diligent the store owner is or how many masks you were. 

‘Everyone is vulnerable to this virus. Government can’t keep you safe.

‘Only you can keep yourself safe. That’s the story of life and where we are today,’ he said. 

It is unclear how local agencies will respond to the order. 

New York City has ten urban beaches, whereas Long Island has eleven, longer stretches of sand.  

Beaches in other states, including California, opened earlier this week too. In North Carolina, beaches are open but only for exercise.

Cuomo has extended the state-wide coronavirus stay-at-home order until June 13 but regions that meet reopening requirements can start to reopen before then.

The extension of the PAUSE plan simply allows Cuomo to keep regions that do not meet requirements closed until June 13.

It does not mean that they won’t open before then. 

It simply extends his original NY Pause order that expires on Friday May 15. 

Five regions have met the requirements to reopen and they will start with construction, manufacturing and curbside retail on Friday. 

They are the North Country, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier and Central New York are all ready to reopen. 

New York City has not yet enough of the requirements.  It still needs to grow its hospital bed and ICU bed capacity and reduce the number of people being hospitalized with the virus every day.

The first phase is to allow people who work in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade and retail back to work but only if they practice social distancing. 

The biggest practical change for consumers is likely to be curbside retail which will allow some clothing stores, electronics stores, furniture, florists, jewelry, and sporting goods stores to reopen.   

The rules mean they cannot allow customers inside – instead, they must put in place a curbside pick-up system with customers placing orders online then picking them up on the street. 

It is unclear how long it will take for them to transition to phase two, which allows office workers to return to their jobs if their employers think it is safe. 

Cuomo has previously suggested that a period of two weeks between each stage may be a good enough time to monitor if it has led to an increase in infection rate.