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City of Riverside Re-Opens Some Parks, Evaluating Others

Inland Empire Parks

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The City of Riverside has re-opened some of its parks and is looking for ways to safely open others.

Parks were closed earlier this year to limit the spread of COVID-19 following state and county health orders. However, the county’s Public Health Officer recently issued two amended orders that enable cities to re-open some parks, trails and other facilities within specific guidelines.

Since then, city staff has determined which facilities can be re-opened without violating the remaining County orders or the State order. Signs have been posted reminding people to maintain six feet of social distancing and wear a face covering, as required by these orders.

“Exercising safely is a great way to get out of your house and maintain your fitness during the quarantine,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “We know that exercise is a key factor in maintaining good mental health during stressful times, so it is encouraging to see our parks re-opening.”

Factors that went into determining which parks can re-open included whether visitors to the parks can maintain social distancing and whether an activity that would take place at a re-opened park would create physical contact between two or more people.

Now open are neighborhood parks, tennis and pickle ball courts, trails at Sycamore Canyon and the disc golf course at Martha McLean Park. Pickle ball tournaments cannot be accommodated at this time. Individuals must follow social distancing protocols and State and County orders including face covering requirements, etc.

Remaining closed are all community and senior centers, Mount Rubidoux, Fairmount Park Golf Course, all gated parks, parking lots, restrooms, drinking fountains, athletic fields and pools.

“Public health has been and continues to be the City’s primary goal during this pandemic. We want to re-open as soon as possible, but the stakes of moving too quickly are high.” Mayor Pro Tem Erin Edwards said. “Rest assured that Riverside city leaders are weighing all facts to make decisions that are the most prudent for our city, within the context of State and County orders.”

The City Council will soon discuss whether to re-open the Andulka Tennis Center and the Fairmount Park Golf Course. Potential issues include whether re-opening the parking lot at Andulka Park to accommodate tennis players will draw so many people that it will be difficult to achieve social distancing at the park.

Similar potential issues exist with the golf course at Fairmount Park. If the course does re-open, golfers will be required to follow a “park and play” model, with tee times available only online or by phone, and golf carts restricted to one person per cart.

Mount Rubidoux remains closed because the volume of hikers on the trails would make it very difficult to achieve the required social distancing. It also would require the re-opening of the parking lot at Ryan Bonaminio Park, which would raise the potential for large gatherings without social distancing at that park.

If social distancing cannot be maintained and people do not wear the required face coverings, the parks could be closed again.

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