Wright County Parks & Recreation is advising residents that, despite the need for children to get the opportunity to play outside, families should not be using the play structures in county parks.
Parks & Recreation Director Marc Mattice said that, while every effort is made to sanitize public areas of the county’s park system, it is virtually impossible to keep not only social distancing protocols in places like playgrounds, but keeping them sanitized is much more challenging than other surfaces.
“We would like to strongly urge people not to use the playgrounds in county parks at this time,” Mattice said. “The Centers for Disease Control, the Minnesota Department of Health and Wright County Public Health are all recommending social distancing and the last thing we want is the potential of our young people potentially contracting COVID-19 from exposure at a playground.”
Mattice added that the trails and open spaces in parks can accommodate many people while keeping in line with social distancing practices.
“We want to let our park users know that the trails and open spaces are still open and useable,” Mattice said. “If you look at the numbers, we can social distance more than 250 people per acre in our open spaces and on our trails, if people are spread out 10 feet apart, we can handle more than 525 people per mile of trail.”
Mattice added that the goal of the decision to promote social distancing is to allow residents who have been cooped up by force or choice to have the opportunity to get outside, get into nature and enjoy themselves while still being mindful of the potential for exposure on playgrounds.
“The Wright County Parks & Recreation Department is continuing to encourage passive enjoyment of the parks, open spaces and trails, where social distancing and the CDC guidelines can be followed,” Mattice said. “In an effort to limit the potential spread of COVID-19 we are asking users not to use the playgrounds or picnic tables for social gathering that have numerous contact points. Our parks are here for our residents and will remain open, but we strongly suggest that people err on the side of caution.”