Coronavirus

De Blasio: Playgrounds Pose Greater Health Risk Than Mass Demonstrations

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio (D.) on Thursday said he would not reopen playgrounds to families because it is "too much of a risk" but said large protest gatherings may continue.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the playgrounds just created too much of a risk to families, of the spread of the disease," de Blasio said during a press briefing.

Hamodia journalist Reuvain Borchardt had asked de Blasio how it was fair to allow protests to continue amid the coronavirus pandemic while families are prohibited from using playgrounds. 

"How does it promote equality, Mr. Mayor, when protesters, who have already had nearly two weeks to be out in the street, are continually allowed to gather?" Borchardt asked.

The mayor defended his decision, saying the protests are a demand for change during a painful and challenging period. 

"I do think the moment that this city, this nation has gone through in the last two weeks or so is something very particular, very painful, very intense, very challenging," de Blasio said. "But also a moment where literally decades and centuries of the demand for change came forward, and real change is happening as a result."

De Blasio said he sympathized with frustrated parents and it wasn't a decision he made lightly.

Last week, de Blasio tangled with Borchardt over the prohibition of prayer services while mass protests were allowed to continue.

"Four hundred years of American racism, I'm sorry, that is not the same question as the understandably aggrieved store owner or the devout religious person who wants to go back to services," de Blasio said at the time.

The mayor also criticized Borchardt for asking if de Blasio's solidarity with the protesters affected his decision.