The Parks Department announced on Monday that all dog runs and dog parks throughout the city will be closed as part of the city’s efforts to maintain social distancing in public spaces. This news comes after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that all playgrounds in the city would be closed as part of the effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The city Parks Department said in a press release that while monitoring parks, they have observed overcrowding at dog runs and received numerous complaints from locals about it. Besides the dog runs, NYC parks will continue to remain open.

“We understand how important dog runs are to our furry, four-legged friends, but because of ongoing overcrowding, dog runs and dog parks will be closed starting tomorrow,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver. “Our parks remain open otherwise, and they are great places to get fresh air and exercise for New York City pups, but it is very important to keep them on their leashes according to park rules and to social distance.”

A dog owner, who is wearing a mask, and her dog at the West 72nd Street dog run on April 6, 2020
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At the West 72nd Street dog run on April 6, 2020 Jen Chung / Gothamist

In addition, the Parks Department announced that they would also remove any remaining basketball rims and tennis nets from courts and playgrounds, and lock up all courts with a gate, including handball courts.

Before Cuomo made his announcement last Wednesday, he said he and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson initially backed Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to use the NYPD to enforce compliance at the playgrounds, but decided it was still too much of a problem, as evidenced by lots of instances of people clustering at parks and playgrounds over the last two weeks.

A photo of the playground warning signage
Dashed Arrow Gwynne Hogan/Gothamist

On Sunday, it was announced that a four-year-old Malayan tiger at the Bronx Zoo had tested positive for COVID-19. It’s believed other big cats there have it, too, and that they contracted it from “a person caring for them who was asymptomatically infected with the virus.” It’s unclear if this news had anything to do with the closing of dog parks, though it is not believed that pets or zoo animals can transmit coronavirus to humans.