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City to Hand Out Thousands of Free Face Coverings to New Yorkers at Parks

Astoria Park (Parks Dept.)

April 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

New York City will be handing out free face coverings to New Yorkers in an effort to further control the spread of the coronavirus, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.

City workers will be distributing up to 100,000 face coverings in parks and playgrounds across the five boroughs from Saturday, May 2 through Tuesday, May 5.

“We need to fight [the virus] back and this is a very simple powerful way to do it,” de Blasio said.

In Queens, the coverings will be distributed at Queensbridge Park, Astoria Park, Lost Battalion Hall, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Mauro Playground, Daniel O’Connell Playground, Baisley Pond Park, Springfield Park, Redfern Playground and Sorrentino Recreation Center.

“We want to make it easy for people to have face coverings,” de Blasio said.

The city is also ramping up its social distancing enforcement and education as the weather warms up and more people will be going outside.

The mayor is creating a task force of 1,000 full-time workers who will be brought in from a number of city agencies to enforce social distancing rules. The task force will include employees of the Parks Department, Office of Special Enforcement, Sheriff’s Office, FDNY, DEP and DSNY.

The workers will add to the NYPD officers who have already been patrolling streets and parks to ensure compliance. Task force workers will also distribute another 275,000 free face coverings to those without them throughout the city.

Face coverings will help protect everyone from the spread of the coronavirus, de Blasio said.

“I want people to think that it’s not a small act to put on a face covering — in fact, it’s a very generous altruistic act,” de Blasio said. “It helps protect everyone around you. It helps reduce the spread of the disease. Think about the face coverings as yet another way to inhibit this disease which has done such horrifying things to New Yorkers.”

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Gardens Watcher

As of May 6, The free masks program at NYC parks has been extended through May 12. Map of locations at


Great initiative on distributing masks. I appreciate it!
I do have my own, and + try to follow the guidelines, but the more we distribute the better.


Unfortunately this will probably result in further disregard for distancing. It’s clear that there are those among us who are actively defying both masks and social distancing. Nevermind the spitters too. Still hundreds dead each day, and those egos continue to put themselves and others willfully at risk.


The most difficult places to distance are in supermarkets and grocery stores.
There seems to be little provision for stocking shelves during off hours, so already narrow aisles are usually further narrowed by (frequently territorial) workers.

Sam Dog

What a waste of money…They dont wear face masks because they dont want to… Not that they cant afford them. They could use scarfs etc but they do not. Give them to the homeless and those living in shelters.. those who get free meals.. believe me I have been to the Astoria park.. you are wasting your time and resources.

Give them to the essential workers.

This will basically crap on your social distancing pleas. It’ll be bedlam.


We have enough people on Ditmars and at Astoria Park. I am so tired of the city and news reporters encouraging people to visit our area. Go do your news stories about social distancing and supermarket hours at Elmhurst and Queens Bridge Housing. As i am texting there is one reporter live on ditmars talking about subway closures on tv.


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