Phoenix Reopening Park Playgrounds, Sports Complexes

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - 9:00pm
Updated: Thursday, October 8, 2020 - 6:55am

caution tape around a basketball court
Sky Schaudt/KJZZ
Caution tape around a basketball court in north Phoenix on Sept. 9, 2020.

After seven months, Phoenix is reopening public park amenities. On Wednesday, the City Council unanimously approved the reopening because Phoenix has been in the "moderate risk" category for a few weeks.

But that doesn’t mean every city department will rush to reopen. Or that everything that reopens will stay open. 

Because the data lag, Dr. Saskia Popescu, a public health consultant, suggested leaders pay attention to metrics over a shorter time period. 

“If we’re seeing two weeks of incremental face counts and hospitalizations and percent positivity that should be the conversation that we start having about should we be holding off on further reopenings and maybe talking about pulling back on some,” she said.

While trails and golf courses have remained open during the pandemic, playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts and sports complexes have been closed. Some park amenities will reopen Thursday while others may take a few more days.

The Parks and Recreation Department said people using outdoor recreational facilities should continue to follow these guidelines:

  • Do not use public recreational amenities if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.
  • Bring your own wipes and hand sanitizer.
  • Keep a safe distance of six feet or more from others.

Before the vote, Councilman Michael Nowakowski expressed concern for some parks employees.

“A lot of our staff are afraid to come back because they’re really, they just don’t know what’s really going on,” he said. “They watch a 10-second news clip and it scares the heck out of you, you know?”

City management agreed to set up town halls for employees to talk with public health experts. 

Phoenix also plans to resume youth leagues and outdoor programs using masks and social distancing, but no date has been set. The council will discuss partially reopening libraries at a meeting later this month.

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