Menlo Park closes additional recreation facilities, urges better social distancing

by Contributed Content on March 27, 2020

To reduce crowds at local parks and help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the City of Menlo Park is taking additional safety measures and closing all park restrooms, all public tennis courts and all public basketball courts. These new closures are in addition to the already closed playgrounds and skate park. These changes are effective immediately.

This week, state and county officials raised alarm at the large uptick in the number of people visiting parks and beaches. To reduce crowds, they closed many of their parks to parking and vehicle traffic. People are encouraged to use their local parks and trails and to avoid driving to other neighborhoods, even if that means forgoing your favorite park.

Accordingly, Menlo Park joins many San Mateo County Parks with California State Parks to emphasize that residents stay closer to home, respect park regulations and closures, and practice social distancing. Social distancing is defined as the practice of maintaining a greater than usual physical distance from other people (at least 6 feet) or avoiding direct contact with people or objects in public places. This action during contagious disease outbreaks, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, can minimize exposure and reduce the risk of disease transmission.

The San Mateo County Health Officer’s shelter-in-place order calls for appropriate social distancing practices. In issuing the most recent local order, City Manager Starla Jerome-Robinson stressed that the community adhere to park and facility closures, all park rules, and be respectful of other park visitors by practicing social distancing.

Officials understand the need to exercise and get fresh air, but cannot impress upon the community enough, the importance of practicing space separation and avoiding crowds. Members of the public continue to engage in group sports like basketball, soccer, football and congregating at the skate park, which violates the health officer’s order and could necessitate further closures and enforcement.

Currently, law enforcement officers continue to remind residents to do their part to comply with the health officer’s shelter-in-place order and protect our community from the spread of COVID-19.

Visit menlopark.org/coronavirus for local information and resources related to COVID-19.

InMenlo file photo (c) 2019

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