ENTERPRISE, Ala. (PR) -- Mayor William E. Cooper announced Monday that all five city playgrounds are closed temporarily.
“It is with regret that we close the playgrounds, but we believe this is the best action to protect our children and help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus to them and others."
Cooper said he and Parks and Recreation Director Billy Powell made the decision after the number of cases of COVID-19 rose to 157 in Alabama, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. The Centers for Disease Control is reporting more than 15,219 cases in the United States as of Monday morning, with 201 deaths. Some news outlets, such as CNN, however, are reporting that cases have swelled to more than 35,000 with up to 477 deaths.
“We felt this action was needed because we are asking everyone to follow the safety guidelines issued by the ADPH, the Governor’s Office and the CDC to practice social distancing of six feet,” Powell explained. “Children are touching the surfaces of the equipment, and It’s really hard to keep children 6 feet apart while at play. We are trying to protect the children from contracting the virus or passing it on to others.”
In addition, playground equipment is not sanitized and the city does not have the manpower to do that with the frequency that would be necessary to be effective, Cooper said.
The playgrounds closed are at Johnny Henderson Family Park, Gibson, Peavy, Westside and Donaldson parks.
Powell noted that the parks will be open, so families who want to have an outdoor activity are encouraged to come and walk the trails, explore nature and find creative ways to entertain the youngsters while also practicing safety measures.
CDC guidelines recommend using an alcohol-based sanitizer, containing at least 60 percent alcohol; maintaining a distance of 6 feet from others; and washing hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds. Safety practices also advise against touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; and sharing food, cups or utensils.
Anyone who has a communicable illness of any kind should not go to the parks, according to guidance from the National Recreation and Parks Association.
Earlier this month, the ADPH said 11 flu-like respiratory illness were circulating in Alabama.
Powell added that the city Parks and Recreation Department is also going to make the playground shutdown productive by making repairs at the Johnny Henderson playground.
Cooper also reminded everyone that although Enterprise City Hall is open for business, they are asked to do as much city business as possible by phone, email or direct mail. Go to the city’s website at www.enterpriseal.gov to pay your water bill and court payments. You can also get a business license application, information about obtaining building permits and other information about various topics within city government.
Please do not come to City Hall if you are sick. If you cannot avoid coming to the building, please maintain the recommended 6-foot distance between yourself and city employees or other visitors to City Hall.