Springs mayor urges social distancing at parks, says non-compliance could lead to park closure

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Colorado Springs officials are encouraging citizens to continue taking advantage of the city's outdoor spaces during the ongoing health crisis -- but with extra caution.

"While this is a rapidly changing environment, as of now, the city’s parks, trails and open spaces remain open to allow people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide," the city said in a news release Monday.

The city released new guidelines Tuesday on how to play outside safely during the coronavirus outbreak. These guidelines include:

- Do not use parks, trails and open spaces if you are exhibiting symptoms. If you or your children are experiencing symptoms, it’s important to stay home when sick.
- Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails. Bring hand sanitizer with you to clean your hands if soap and water are not available.
- Users may find public restrooms closed. Be prepared before you leave and time outings so that you are not dependent on public restrooms.
- Bring water or drinks. Public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
- While on trails, warn other users of your presence before you pass, and step aside to let others pass. Signal your presence with your voice, bell or horn.
- If keeping a 6-foot minimum distance isn't possible, find another spot in the park or go to a different place altogether.
- Do not gather in groups of more than 10 or engage in any activity where you cannot maintain at least 6 feet from other people. This includes activities involving physical contact or sharing or equipment.
- Do not touch any surfaces that are likely to be touched by other people. Staff is applying extra disinfectant weekly to playground equipment, but the safest thing is to refrain from touching these surfaces. If you do take your children to a playground, use disinfectant wipes before and after use. Kids should also clean their hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Take everything with you to protect park workers.

The city is strongly discouraging pickup team sports during this time.

Mayor John Suthers warned in a news conference Tuesday that if these guidelines were not followed, the city may have to make the difficult decision to close a park.

"If we don’t see greater cooperation. If folks don’t spread out. If we continue these kinds of crowds at Garden of the Gods, we may have to close a park or something like that. I don’t want to do it, but if we don’t get some more cooperation.”

"We want to keep our parks open for public use," he said.