As visits to Lincoln's parks and trails increase, the City is advising residents on how to enjoy the outdoors in a way that prevents the spread of the coronavirus. Those who have symptoms of COVID-19 - fever, cough, or difficulty breathing - should not be using parks or trails at this time.
The public is also advised to avoid playground and exercise equipment because the surfaces are not sanitized. Signs are being posted at the playgrounds.
"With school out and more residents working from home, spending time in our parks and on our trails is a great way to get exercise and fresh air and relieve stress," said Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird. "It's extremely important now to follow the recommendations of our health professionals any time we are out in the public, and our parks are no exception."
Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson encouraged residents to follow the personal hygiene recommendations before visiting parks and trails and to take their own games, water, hand sanitizer, and wipes. Restrooms and water fountains in parks and along trails are closed. Residents are also asked to take trash out of the park and dispose of it in a nearby trash bin or at home. Johnson said it's also important to stay at least six feet away from others.
"We also want to remind park users that proper etiquette in parks, on the trails, at the dog runs and at the golf courses is always important to keep everyone safe," Johnson said. "Remember, dogs are not allowed at the Pioneers Park Nature Center preserve. If you are not at the dog run, all dogs need to be on a leash, and owners must pick up dog waste."
Parks and Recreation has cancelled many events and has implemented changes at the public golf courses and at other facilities. Johnson said the department would continue to take action that follows the advice of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. Information on the changes is available at COVID19.lincoln.ne.gov and parks.lincoln.ne.gov.
To comply with the event guidelines in the Health Department's Directed Health Measures, the Parks and Recreation Department will cancel all shelter rentals for events involving more than 10 individuals between now and May 6. Staff will contact the event organizers with refund information, and those who want to adjust their gatherings to follow the new restrictions may contact the department at 402-441-7847 to reserve a facility.