FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation announced early Thursday it would open multiple recreational facilities Friday as part of Stage 3 of Governor Holcomb’s Back on Track plan. However the executive order signed by Holcomb veered from the original Stage 3 plan and playground are prohibited from opening.
The following facilities will be open to the public on Friday:
- Lawton Skate Park
- Hurshtown Reservoir
- All athletic courts (tennis, basketball, futsal, pickleball courts)
- Athletic fields open for practice
- All Park Restrooms
The change was made after the state decided younger Hoosiers are just not ready for it.
“Children oftentimes put their hands to their mouth and to their face and that’s a very difficult thing to manage so we are just not there yet with that,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner, at Wednesday’s state COVID-19 update.
Not only would it be difficult to constantly be sanitizing all of the city playgrounds throughout the day, but it would also be challenging to enforce social distancing with children who may not understand the concept.
“Children have a harder time to follow social distancing guidelines and those requirements that the adults know better than to interact too closely,” said Rob Hines, a spokesperson for Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. “I think it’s more for their protection which is absolutely the best way to handle it.”
Hines called the news disappointing but said they want to proceed with the best interest of the public in mind.
“We certainly are disappointed,” said Hines. “We’ve been disappointed about a lot of the changes we’ve had to make this year with closing the pools and programs. This is what we do, this is our livelihood. This is why we get up in the morning so for us not to be able to do these things it’s really disappointing but we know for the greater good. Ultimately, regardless of what we do, the health and safety of the community is our first priority.”
While playgrounds will remain closed, the parks will be opening up the Johnny Appleseed Campground on May 24 with some precautions. Along with asking people to stay within their family units, they will also be asking people to follow certain sanitary guidelines in the public facilities. Those guidelines will be covered with people as they enter the campgrounds.
As far as for when playgrounds and splash pads can be expected to open, Hines says it all depends on how things develop with the Back on Track plan.
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