Dallas city officials say they are closing all of the city's 397 parks during Easter weekend to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The city said parks typically see a significant increase in traffic over the holiday weekend as families and groups enjoy egg hunts, picnics and barbecues.
With physical distancing and gathering restrictions in place, and with gyms closed in recent weeks under the county's Safer-at-Home order, city officials said the parks have seen increased use in recent weeks and that the temporary closure this weekend would be the safest decision for first responders, city staff and the public.
The parks will shut down at 9 p.m. Friday and will reopen to the public at 7 a.m. Monday.
Trails will remain open over the weekend, but people using the trails are expected to follow physical distancing guidelines of keeping at least six feet between each other.
"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," Johnson said in a prepared statement. "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.
City officials said park rangers, park staff, Dallas police, city marshals, parking enforcement, and code compliance will monitor all 397 parks during the weekend and that digital messaging boards will alert people the parks are closed.
On NBC 5 Today Thursday morning, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said she planned to stay home on Easter Sunday, echoing ‘Stay at Home’ orders for the Easter holiday weekend.
*Map locations are approximate, central locations for the city and are not meant to indicate where actual infected people live.
**County totals below include all 32 North Texas counties, not just Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant.
How to Avoid COVID-19 Infection:
The best way to prevent infection is to take precautions to avoid exposure to this virus, which are similar to the precautions you take to avoid the flu. CDC always recommends these everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
*Information shared from the Office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott