Mayor William E. Cooper announced March 23 that all five city playgrounds are closed temporarily.
The playgrounds closed are at Johnny Henderson Family Park, Gibson, Peavy, Westside and Donaldson parks.
Cooper said he and Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell made the decision after the number of cases of COVID-19 rose to 157 in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
“We felt this action was needed because we are asking everyone to follow the safety guidelines issued by the ADPH, the Governor’s Office and the CDC to practice social distancing of six feet,” Powell explained. “Children are touching the surfaces of the equipment, and it’s really hard to keep children six feet apart while at play. We are trying to protect the children from contracting the virus or passing it on to others.”
In addition, playground equipment is not sanitized and the city does not have the manpower to do that with the frequency that would be necessary to be effective, Cooper said.
Powell noted that the parks will be open, so families who want to have an outdoor activity are encouraged to come and walk the trails, explore nature and find creative ways to entertain the youngsters while also practicing safety measures.
Powell added that the city Parks and Recreation Department is also going to make the playground shutdown productive by making repairs at the Johnny Henderson playground.