Deno's Wonder Wheel Park on the Coney Island boardwalk was scheduled to open for its 2020 season -- the centennial anniversary season for the Wonder Wheel itself -- on the weekend of April 4 and 5, but that opening was of course postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now it's looking questionable whether we'll be able to hit NYC's beaches at all this summer. In a briefing on Tuesday morning (4/14), Mayor Bill de Blasio cast doubt on whether large gatherings would be able to safely take place in June, July, or August, and as a source told New York Post, city Park Department employees are being told to "prepare for every scenario" in the coming summer months -- including social distancing measures remaining in place, keeping beaches closed.
"I am told they were given orders by OMB [the Office of Management and Budget] and City Hall to plan for scenarios including full and partial closures,” the source told New York Post on Tuesday.
One option the source said is being explored is the opening of only select parts of the beach, while others are closed off. However, that would likely make the open segments all the more crowded, as people competed for the limited space. "If you do that you increase density," the source told New York Post. "I think Parks understands that. Even if you say, ‘Is there a socially distant way of opening beaches?’, I don’t see it.”
Furthermore, according to the source, hiring people to staff the beach this season is proving challenging. "They’re having enormous difficulty hiring lifeguards right now," the source said to New York Post. "Even if the mayor wants to open the beaches — which I don’t think he’s going to — they don’t even have the manpower."
Stay tuned for further updates.
Meanwhile, one expert said that live music may not return until fall of 2021.