NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It is not often the Metropolitan Transit Authority tells the public not to take mass transit on a holiday weekend, but that’s exactly the message for those planning to escape the cement city.

For many people Memorial Day weekend means getting outside, but with social distancing, transit officials do not want crowds packing onto subways, buses or the LIRR to get to beaches outside New York City limits expected because beaches in the city are still closed, reports CBS2’s Natalie Duddridge.

Officials are prioritizing Long Island Rail Road service for essential workers and say if you are you not an essential worker, find alternate travel.

To prevent overcrowding, they will be limiting the number of people on a train or bus, even asking riders to take the next one.


If MTA workers notice too many travelers building up, they say extra service will be added.

There will also be police in place to handle potential crowds.

Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and President of MTA Long Island Rail Road Phil Eng say even though it’s tempting to head out on a holiday weekend, it’s better stay close to home.

“I want to remind you the MTA is still running essential service for first responders and essential workers to get to their critical,” said Eng. “If you do not need to ride, don’t. If you do, wear a mask or face covering.”

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“What we know for sure is we do not want large numbers of people going on mass transit right now,” said de Blasio. “That’s the only way the vast majority of New Yorkers go to the beach, get to the beach. So I’m very confident that going slowly and carefully with the beach is the right thing to do.”

Officials are also reminding people many beaches outside the city have restrictions. For example, you may need a pass to use it or the capacity is being kept to 50%, so check before you head out.

As for those essential workers who are riding this weekend, transit officials say they have been keeping up with aggressive cleaning efforts to keep the system safe.


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