Not playing fair: City to close four Brooklyn playgrounds for flouting social distancing rules

Fort Greene Park playground
One of two playgrounds in Fort Greene Park, at St. Edwards Street and Myrtle Avenue, will be closed for failing social distancing rules as of March 31.

Playtime is over!

The city will close four Brooklyn parks Tuesday after revelers repeatedly violated social distancing, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Hizzoner ordered the closure of the two playgrounds in Fort Greene Park along with Middleton Playground in Williamsburg and Brighton Playground in Brighton Beach as part of 10 renegade recreation grounds citywide, where park-goers have failed keep a safe distance to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Those are playgrounds that had crowding multiple times. They will be shut down, they will be locked, there’ll be signs put up, there’ll be enforcement,” the mayor said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference in Queens.

The city will close down two playgrounds each in Manhattan and Staten Island, along with one in the Bronx and one in Queens, said mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein in a tweet.

Most parks and playgrounds in the Five Boroughs were complying with social distancing laws, according to de Blasio, but he said he is ready to send out Parks Department Police and New York’s Finest to enforce the regulation and — if need be — close down more green spaces.

“My goal, again, is to try and preserve as many as possible,” he said. “If people will not follow the rules, we will continue to shut them down aggressively.”

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D–Manhattan) previously called on the mayor to close playgrounds altogether, for fear of kids spreading the virus among each other and then bringing it home to their parents. 

New Yorkers breaking social distancing rules will face fines of up to $500 by the Police Department, de Blasio said Sunday, which follows a state-wide ban on gatherings and a mandate that people keep six feet away from each other.

The mayor also said on March 27 that a small number of houses of worship were still holding religious services and that the city might fine them and close them down if they continued to flout social distancing.

De Blasio also launched a pilot project to close off a section of Bushwick Avenue last weekend during the daytime to give locals more space, along with three other streets in all boroughs except Staten Island, which will continue until Sunday April 5, according to a spokeswoman.