Special to The Dallas Examiner
After several reminders and warnings to maintain social distancing while visiting public parks, the city of Dallas will close its parks during Easter weekend to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Dallas parks typically see a significant increase in use on Easter weekend as families and groups have used the public spaces for picnics, Easter egg hunts, social recreation, barbecues, and the like.
With physical distancing and social gathering restrictions in place, usage of the city’s parks has increased in recent weeks.
Mayor Eric Johnson and Dallas Park and Recreation Director John Jenkins agreed that a temporary closure this weekend would be the safest decision for first responders, city staff, and the public.
“I would have loved for our community to be able to celebrate Easter in our wonderful parks, and I regret that we have to make this decision,” Mayor Johnson said. “But we cannot take the unnecessary risk of further crowding in our parks right now. We cannot afford to jeopardize the gains that I believe we are making in the fight against COVID-19 with the stay-at-home orders that we have in place.
“The sooner we stop the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can get back to our lives.”
Park rangers, Park staff, Dallas police, city marshals, parking enforcement, and Code Compliance will monitor the city’s 397 parks during the weekend. Digital messaging boards will alert people the parks are closed.
Trails will remain open, but users must abide physical distancing guidelines.
“Easter weekend tends to be one of the busiest days of the year in the park system, but the department is urging the community to stay home instead,” Jenkins said. “While we miss our parks being full of families playing together, we hope they will enjoy their egg hunts and Easter brunches from the safety of their own homes.”
The parks will shut down Friday at 9 p.m. and will reopen to the public Monday at 7 a.m.