NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — After criticism of the NYPD’s enforcement of social distancing guidelines, the city is using more and more so-called “social distancing ambassadors.”
The city, hoping to avoid confrontations with the police, has built a team of 2,300 social distancing ambassadors to patrol parks and other public areas, remining people to keep apart.
The ambassadors are New York City employees from the Parks Department, FDNY, Buildings Department and Corrections Department.
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, who heads the program, says their primary goal is to educate residents.
“If there is a large crowd, our social distant ambassador will call a supervisor and they will make a determination if we have to call our parks enforcement patrol or NYPD if it's a very large crowd,” he explains.
Ambassadors will also be handing out free masks to people that are not wearing one.
“We're encouraging people to wear them, we are educating them, but we will not issue a violation if somebody is not wearing a face covering,” Silver notes.
He does encourage anyone exercising in city parks to wear a face covering that they can pull around their neck to take occasional deep breaths.
Silver notes that anyone in public should wear a face covering where social distancing is not easily practiced.