Penny Rich, chairperson of the Orange County Board of Commissioners, said parks reopening in the county have gone smoothly so far, with children and parents social distancing as much as possible. She emphasized the need for exercise and social interaction in kids' lives.
“I really do encourage parents to get their children to the parks,” she said. “But, as a parent you’re going to have to decide what your personal risk limit is.”
Although parks in the state were allowed to reopen on Sept. 4, Orange County Parks and Recreation agencies opened these areas for public use on Sept. 11.
The Parks and Recreation agencies in Orange County said they have taken extra safety precautions.
These precautions include:
- Routine cleaning of the playground equipment
- Mandating 2-on-2 volleyball, tennis and pickleball play
- And reservation requirements for use of outdoor picnic areas.
In a Sept. 9 press release, Orange County officials stated that while Cooper's executive order will remain in effect statewide through Oct. 2, Orange County will recognize it through the Oct. 31.
These stricter guidelines will be reconsidered when the counties COVID-19 positivity rate decreases to 5 percent.
“We need the community to partner with us in order to get the positivity rate down to 5 percent for a sustained amount of time,” Rich said in the press release.
Orange County also announced it will lower the age requirement for mask use to age 5. The county acknowledged that the risk of transmission is much lower in outdoor settings, but still requires all indicated age groups to wear masks.
Fleischmann said it is important for patrons to look at the Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation website before visiting and to pay attention to signage while in parks because there are precautions specific to the town and county.
"We do, at some of our park locations, have a park monitor, which is a staff member who can provide information about the park and what's available and what's not," Fleischmann said.
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