coronavirus

Dallas Parks Reopen Monday Morning After Easter Weekend Closure

The city closed the parks on Easter weekend, but places like White Rock Lake still saw a good amount of activity

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Dallas Parks and Recreation shut down 397 parks on Easter weekend to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The city said it placed barricades and digital messaging boards at parks around the city to remind people they were off limits.

“Me and my staff have traveled and gone to different park sites to do an assessment and we’ve seen that there are some parks where park visitors are complying," said Shana Gates, the service area manager for Dallas Parks and Recreation.

Sunday afternoon, Gates said she knew people were tempted to go and enjoy the parks because of the weather, but the city had more crews enforcing the rules.

"It was a beautiful day today, so people wanted to go out and enjoy the park. Thanks to our staff, Dallas Police Department and the marshal's office for assisting us, we’re just asking people to leave and be in compliance and to voluntarily leave the area just because the parks were closed," Gates said.

She said White Rock Lake had the most activity.

“There were some families that may not be watching the news media that may not have seen some of the signs as they drove into a parking lot. For those families or those groups of people that did not recognize those signs or the media, we had staff out there just to let them know the update," Gates said. "'We’re closed on Saturday and Sunday, see ya Monday, you can enjoy the trail,' but they asked politely for them to leave.”

The trails remained open, but people were expected to remember physical distancing.

Gates said because White Rock Lake has a lot of trails that connect, there are many entrances.

"We didn't hear about it," said Richard Heckenliable, who said he did not know the parks were closed.

He and his wife had lunch more than 6 feet away from their adult daughter, who sat in a lawn chair underneath a tree.

"COVID is a real concern and social distancing is an important measure, and so is hand washing," said Victoria, their daughter who they hadn't seen in a while. "It's actually our first time to have Easter together in about five years."

While her parents sat at the bench, Victoria ate away from them, but close enough to where she could see them.

"We're excited to see her and you can see, there's a lot of space between us. And there' a lot of wind out here, so we're nice and safe," Heckenlaible said.

The small family said they noticed other picnic tables were empty, but didn't realize the park was closed because they do not watch the news that often.

"We thought maybe because it rained this morning and didn't want to get soggy, and I actually saw a police car drive by and thought, 'Oh how nice, he's patrolling the park,'" explained Ann Heckenlaible, Richard's wife.

Dallas parks will reopen at 7 a.m. on Monday.

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