DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - In an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during a holiday, the City of Dallas has decided to close its parks this Easter weekend.
The city said it has seen an increase in residents going to parks during the pandemic due to social distancing guidelines that are in place.
The city said the parks are usually crowded during the Easter holiday due to picnics, egg hunts and other types of gatherings. Because of this, the city decided it was best to close the parks.
"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," Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement Wednesday. "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."
The city said groups such as park rangers, park staff and Dallas police will be monitoring the city's 397 parks throughout the week to ensure enforcement.
"Easter weekend tends to be one of the busiest days of the year in the park system, but the department is urging the community to stay home instead," Dallas Parks and Recreation Director John Jenkins said. "While we miss our parks being full of families playing together, we hope that they will enjoy their egg hunts and Easter brunches from the safety of their own homes."
The city's parks are expected to be closed at 9 p.m. Friday until 7 a.m. Monday.
"We gave some thought to leaving the parks open and trusting that people would be able to, on their own, keep their distance. But... these are extraordinary times and keeping these parks open and needing to enforce our distancing and gathering rules could have put our parks staff, our public safety personnel and the public in harm's way," Johnson said during a news conference Thursday.
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