New Yorkers fined for social distancing violations

People visit Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, on May 2, 2020 (AFP Photo/Kena Betancur)

New York (AFP) - Dozens of New Yorkers were fined for violating coronavirus social distancing guidelines as they flocked to the city's beaches and parks to enjoy balmy weekend weather, police said Sunday.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told reporters that officers had issued 51 summonses on Saturday, mostly for social distance violations, as temperatures in America's COVID-19 epicenter registered upwards of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius).

Residents of the Big Apple, which has been shut down since mid-March, are allowed outside to exercise providing they maintain six-feet (two meters) of distance and wear a mask when around others.

New Yorkers can be fined up to $1,000 for violating the orders, which many did as they descended on popular spots like Manhattan's Central Park and Rockaway Beach in Queens following a largely rainy week.

Shea said tickets were issued to 43 people in parks and eight others elsewhere as New York leaders warned residents not to spark a second wave of infections.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said he appreciated residents were bored but that they should not take "false comfort" from falling COVID-19 cases or from seeing other states reopen.

He insisted that the outbreak -- which has killed almost 20,000 people statewide -- was far from over.

"How people cannot wear masks is disrespectful. It's disrespectful to the nurses, the doctors, the people who have been frontline workers, the transit workers.

"You wear the mask not for yourself -- you wear the mask for me," he added.

Cuomo reported 280 new deaths from COVID-19 in New York state in the last 24 hours, down from 299 the day before.

More than 700 New Yorkers were dying daily at the peak of the outbreak last Month.

Cuomo announced that new cases and intubations continued to fall.