The coronavirus pandemic has affected all aspects of our lives and now it delivers a swift kick to our pets: According to a release, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department is closing city dog parks, and all park recreational amenities.
These closures include water fountains, restrooms, open-play tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, soccer mini-pitch courts, and all other amenities located within city parks.
Trails and parks remain open — but only the non-restricted turf areas and greenspaces.
Park officials are urging residents to stay home, even though outdoor exercise and fresh air has mental and physical benefits.
The big thing is social distancing, with visitors encouraged to keep a distance of at least six feet. Park Rangers will monitor parks and trails to make sure visitors are complying with the social distancing requirement.
This dog park closure is the latest blow. On March 17, the department closed recreation centers, golf courses, tennis centers, athletic fields, and park playgrounds and cancelled scheduled activities including athletic fields reservations and organized play.
"This is the last measure we can take to implement additional social distancing requirements," says John D. Jenkins, Park and Recreation Interim Director, in a statement.
Unrelated to the dogs but related to Park and Recreation is the fact that the department will be draining all display fountains on park properties and at Dallas City Hall Plaza. A release says that these are a health and safety precaution because of the Shelter-in-Place order issued. Staff won't be able to keep up with maintenance operations, leaving the fountains to turn into a breeding ground for algae, mosquitos, and other pests.
On the bright side, draining the fountains will give maintenance workers the opportunity to inspect for structural issues and make repairs.