BRIDGEPORT — Gatherings at parks playgrounds and basketball courts are off limits to city residents in an effort to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

“If there is anything that is going to make me the most unpopular mayor ever, its going to be the closing of playgrounds but we have to do it,” Mayor Joseph Ganim said Tuesday. “I’d rather have a healthy group of children, a healthy society and a healthy neighborhood.”

Ganim also said bars have been put over the top of the hoops on the city’s outdoor basketball courts to prevent people from playing. He said the city is mimicking the practice begun in New York.

“We have to get past the peak on this,” the mayor said. “We have to see the numbers come down. We have to get this behind us ... and have our protocols in place.”

There are approximately 40 parks in the city. All have been closed to gatherings. Many have a basketball court. The city’s remaining public housing complexes have several courts.

“We can’t take the chance of allowing ourselves to be part of the problem,” Ganim said.

Additionally a neon sign like those used to warn of road closures and speed limits has been placed in St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea in Black Rock with the words “Social Distancing.”