It’s not business as usual for parks in the Village of Oregon.
Parks remain open for exercise, but playground equipment, basketball courts and tennis courts have been closed under the state’s “Safer at Home” order that was extended to Tuesday, May 26.
Jeff Rau, director of public works for the Village of Oregon, said he supports Gov. Evers’ mandate to stay at home and said it appears the limitations have been working.
“The idea of closing parks whether they be state parks or local parks is really dependent on the public and how they are handling the situation,” Rau said. “If people abuse the situation (large gatherings, close group interaction), then the parks should be closed. It’s just common sense.”
Rau said the village had to close basketball courts and tennis courts shortly after the order began because of complaints from residents about groups congregating at those sites.
Safety signs for social distancing and hygiene reminders have been installed at parks and dog parks in Oregon. Playground equipment is taped off and signs have been posted citing the closures. Village staff continues with social media update posts about schedule changes or closings.
Village employees monitor parks every week through drive by inspections and during weekly garbage collection.
Rau said Oregon also relies on residents in the parks to report problems when they arise.
“If we observe problems with social distancing, our village police department may need to address and if park closure is warranted, we will follow up with that,” he said.
Weighing whether a park needs to be closed will also include input from state and federal authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We should continue those efforts until we see definitive medically supported results showing we are safe to begin to return to normal,” Rau said.