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Safe Physical Distancing Recommended for Park Use

Fri April 3, 2020

DeKalb, IL- Parks, trails, and open spaces matter more than ever now in our community as the stay-at-home order continues through April 30th.

The DeKalb Park District is here to help residents navigate how to safely utilize these spaces but also to help communicate the difference between the terminology of 'parks' vs. 'playgrounds' that are often used interchangeably. Please note that all parks and trails remain open, while playgrounds and other physical park amenities such as benches, grills, and park shelters are closed for public use.

Swings are gone from playgrounds, nets have been removed from volleyball courts, and rims on basketball hoops have been removed or covered over. Flags have been removed from golf courses and signs have been posted throughout the parks and facilities, noting the closure of these amenities.

Under the advice of local healthcare officials, the dog and skate park at Katz Park have been closed until further notice. Dogs are still permitted on-leash at all parks, but it is more important than ever that owners pick up after their pets. Ballfields and soccer fields should only be used by people adhering to safe physical distancing guidelines and only by people living together in the same household.

Residents are reminded that this is essential in helping to reduce the spread of this dangerous virus and why it is crucial that these playgrounds, sports courts, golf courses, and facilities are closed at this time.

Although DeKalb Park District has closed these additional park amenities, staff encourages residents to get outdoors for their mental health and physical well-being. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has flagged mental health as a serious concern during this pandemic, which is why it is fundamental residents still get outside while maintaining safe physical distancing.

Phil Young, Board President for the Park District stated, “The physical and mental health benefits of our parks and open spaces are more important now than ever. But we have to all work together to keep DeKalb’s parks open. We urge the community to follow the safe social distancing guidelines so that we can all enjoy the benefits of our parks.” 

The District requires that people safely use parks and trails by following these physical distancing tips:

  • Know what 6 feet looks like (the length of a yoga mat or an adult bicycle).
  • Do not use or touch any playground equipment, or any other frequently touched surfaces.
  • Use the parks alone or with individuals that reside within your household that you have already had exposure to.
  • Avoid crowded areas. If a park has too many people in it, leave immediately and find another park to enjoy.

For more resources, on how to use parks safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the National Recreation and Park Association website at nrpa.org/coronavirus. For further DeKalb Park District COVID-19 closure and program update information, please visit https://www.dekalbparkdistrict.com/dkpd-covid19-updates