During these times where it’s safest for us to be apart from each other, we’re so glad that the trails and open spaces of Overton Park are serving as a refuge for many of us. It’s with heavy hearts, then, that we’ve decided to close restrooms, playgrounds, and the dog park until further notice. We’ve made this choice for two reasons: one, because keeping these facilities open encourages people to gather in close proximity to each other; and two, because there are no current CDC guidelines for how to clean playgrounds and outdoor recreation facilities during a pandemic outbreak. With reports that COVID-19 can live on surfaces for days, and our cleaning crew only able to visit once or twice per day, there’s simply no way for us to keep all surfaces sanitized for every visitor.
The park’s trail system remains open for you to get some much-needed fresh air. (PSA: The nature trails are so saturated from the endless rain that you’d need wading boots to walk them, so we recommend the paved trails for now.) We encourage you to follow the National Recreation and Park Association’s guidelines for using the trails:
- Before visiting trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, and do not use trails if you have symptoms.
- Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
- Alert other trail users of your presence, and step off trails to allow others to pass, keeping minimum recommended distances at all times.
- 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.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Take trash with you to protect park workers.
We’ve posted signs announcing the closures, but our playgrounds are open-air, so we’ll need everyone’s cooperation to stay away. Thank you for helping to keep yourself and other park visitors safe.
A note about contacting us: our staff is working remotely, but you can still reach us by leaving a voicemail at 901-214-5450 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for this week’s #NatureZen? You’ll find it here.