Governor of New York signs an order to ease US state’s ban on gathering in groups

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People are seen practicing social distancing in white circles at the Madison Square park, New York City, on Friday

Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, has signed an order easing the US state’s ban on gathering in groups, allowing up to 10 people to assemble as long as they stay at least 6ft from each other or wear face masks if they must stand closer.

Cuomo signed the order on Friday night, the Associated Press reports, clearing the way for New Yorkers to gather together in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

People in New York City were also given the all-clear to visit beaches this weekend, but they may not swim, the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, has said.

“I’ve been really clear about the beaches; they are closed for swimming,” de Blasio said Friday at his daily coronavirus briefing on Friday. “There will not be lifeguards. People are not supposed to go to the beach to swim.”

Memorial Day weekend usually marks the beginning of beach season in New York City, with lifeguards starting duty and swimming permitted in normal times.

The main reason the mayor has cited for the swimming ban is to curb the spread of the virus by keeping people off public transport.