The cities of Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa have all announced that they will be closing city park amenities to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Effective Tuesday at 5 p.m., the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will temporarily close all playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts, and sports complexes located within its parks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. All parks will remain open for normal posted hours to enjoy green space, walking paths, dog parks, skate parks, and tennis courts. The public is still encouraged to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and not meeting in groups of more than 10 people.
The Department also said all park benches, picnic tables, drinking fountains, railings, and restrooms are being cleaned daily in response to COVID-19 concerns.
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell issued the proclamation Monday to close all city park amenities and ramadas, except for restrooms and water fountains. Visitors can still enjoy the trails, paths, open spaces, and walkways.
City staffers will increase the frequency of water fountain and restroom cleaning.
“After careful consideration, this decision was made to ensure we are taking all steps possible to slow the spread of COVID-19. By removing access to specific park amenities that invite multiple touches and close personal contact, we are in a better position to combat the spread of coronavirus,” Mitchell said. “This proclamation will help achieve that goal while also freeing up city staff to increase the cleaning frequency of restrooms and water fountains and reinforce social distancing guidelines within city parks.”
The City of Mesa issued a similar proclamation, announcing that to “focus on the health and safety of our community,” it would be closing playgrounds and sports facilities at all city parks.
Effective immediately, Mesa playgrounds, volleyball, tennis, basketball and pickleball courts will be closed. Restrooms in city parks will be reduced to the following locations: Pioneer Park, Riverview Park, Greenfield Park, and Red Mountain Park.
“We want our residents to be able to enjoy the outdoors at our parks, but we are also acutely aware of the issues pertaining to COVID-19,” Mesa Mayor John Giles said, “For that reason, we made this difficult, but necessary, decision.”
All open spaces, passive play spaces, trails, and walking paths will remain open for public use from sunrise to 10 p.m. in Mesa.
“The decision to close our playgrounds and sports facilities at City parks was made after reviewing social distancing recommendations by national healthcare experts and the CDC.” City Manager Chris Brady said. “Fortunately, there is still plenty of space in our parks for kids to run, play, and do the things that kids do while still taking recommended precautions.”
These decisions are in line with Gov. Ducey’s executive order: Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected. During a news conference Monday, he asked Arizonans to stay home except to conduct essential business. This comes hours after Ducey received a letter signed by several Arizona mayors, urging him to declare a shelter-in-place order for the state.
Gov. Ducey says Arizonans should limit their time away from home and if they do go out, to ensure social distancing. But he also encouraged Arizonans to get outside and enjoy the state’s beautiful weather.
Tempe and Mesa’s officials say says park users must still follow CDC guidelines, which include these social distancing policies to keep themselves and others safe:
- Maintain six feet of physical distance from others.
- Do not gather in groups.
- Stay home if you are sick.
Rolling Hills and Ken McDonald golf courses in Tempe will remain open; however, cart rentals are limited to one person per cart. The pro shops and restaurants are closed. Boat rentals at Tempe Town Lake and Kiwanis Park are also closed.