NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Mayor Bill de Blasio says his decision to keep New York City beaches closed for Memorial Day Weekend is “about health and safety first.”

People will be allowed to walk on the beaches – with masks and social distancing measures – but there will be no lifeguards or large gatherings.

“If you want to walk on the beach, fine enjoy that. But no swimming, no lifeguards, no parties, no barbecues, no sports,” de Blasio said Monday. “It’s just open space that you can walk on, take it in and then get back home.”

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The mayor said the Parks Department is working to install fencing to close off the entry points if it comes to that.

“I don’t want to implement it unless we need to,” he said. “But we have to be ready.”

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the green light for state beaches to reopen for the holiday weekend.

People must wear masks and practice social distancing. Concessions and pools will be closed, and parking lots will be limited to 50% capacity.

Long Island officials worry if city beaches don’t open, residents will flock to their towns and cause overcrowding.

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