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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that police will enforce social distancing measures on beaches over Memorial Day weekend – and will forcibly remove anyone who dares to take a swim.

“Anyone tries to get in the water, they’ll be taken right out of the water,” the mayor said at a press briefing on Monday. 

Though beaches in New York City have partially reopened, people are still required to adhere to social distancing guidelines by avoiding gathering in crowds.

“Anyone tries to get in the water they’ll be taken right out of the water” @NYCMayor warns about city beaches this summer

De Blasio’s warning about taking a dip at the beach appears to be impressing few, though, as people grow increasingly frustrated with Covid-19 lockdown measures. “He literally does not have the manpower to accomplish this,” actor Adam Baldwin tweeted in response to the mayor. 

“Could you imagine riot cops in NYC coming out and beating and arresting people for swimming in the ocean?” another Twitter user quipped.

Others openly taunted the mayor and complained of a “police state” being created through government overreach in enforcing lockdown guidelines.

Cool. Glad we’re a police state now. https://t.co/VgDq5QACE8

Come get me? https://t.co/ayG1GI0e2V

De Blasio was also put through the wringer for suggesting police could fence off beaches if people rebel against the current guidelines for the areas. Considering de Blasio is an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and his plan for a southern border wall, the mayor’s sudden embrace of fences looked a little hypocritical to critics.

Oh so NOW walls work! https://t.co/CRrlGFImD4

Build the wall ! Bill De Blasio “walls don’t work !” Also Bill “we are not ready to open our beaches yet and we will put up fences to keep people out if we have to” 🤷‍♂️ Whats wrong with people ?

The mayor and the NYPD have already come under scrutiny for punishing people breaking lockdown measures. Following the announcement that thousands of “social distancing ambassadors” would be unleashed in the city to enforce the rules, a video showing unmasked officers aggressively arresting several people for not social distancing went viral. The city has also been criticized as a disproportionate number of  minorities have been ticketed for breaking the orders.

De Blasio’s threat of removing people who decide to go swimming may be hollow anyway, as the city has already pulled back on enforcement in the wake of mass criticism. He announced on Sunday, for instance, that police would no longer issue citations for people refusing to wear face coverings, and only people gathering in large groups will be punished for not social distancing.

“We’re going to focus on when it starts to be more than a handful of people, and we’re not going to be having the NYPD enforcing on face coverings,” the mayor said.

The head of the Police Benevolent Association, which represents active and retired NYPD police officers, called for an end to officers being in the “social distancing business” earlier this month, warning such enforcement will cause the city “to fall apart before our eyes.”

.@NYCPBA calls for end of @NYPDnews policing of social distancing: “As the weather heats up & the pandemic continues to unravel our social fabric, police officers should be allowed to focus on our core public safety mission. If we don’t, the city will fall apart before our eyes.” pic.twitter.com/YPYZUh4TG2

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