NRPA Statement on COVID-19 and Health Equity

(April 28, 2020)

Kristine Stratton, president and CEO of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) issued the following statement in response to COVID-19 recovery and health equity:

“NRPA is committed to providing our members with critical resources and guidance as they begin to determine when and how to reopen the public spaces, facilities and services they manage. One key factor in this process must center on health equity. While COVID-19 has impacted each one of us, it’s well known that certain populations have been more severely affected. In addition to older adults and those with underlying health conditions, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color, low-income and rural communities, indigenous people, low-wage workers, people with disabilities, people without documentation, and other historically marginalized and underserved populations.

At NRPA, social equity — ensuring all people have access to the benefits of local parks and recreation — is one of our core pillars. Park and recreation professionals have been leaders in embedding a health equity approach in their responses to COVID-19 to meet immediate community needs, ensuring that our most vulnerable have access to food, shelter, healthcare services and opportunities to safely spend time outdoors. This work is critical and must continue, and as the profession considers plans to reopen spaces, facilities and programs in the coming months, this philosophy should inspire and guide our work.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently posted information regarding COVID-19 in Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups, along with strategies on how public health professionals and community organizations, including parks and recreation, can take action to prioritize equity. These recommendations call upon professionals to:

  • Prioritize resources and provide essential services
  • Ensure communications about COVID-19 are reaching all populations
  • Leverage health promotion programs
  • Work collaboratively with community partners to connect people to services, such as healthcare providers, grocery delivery or temporary housing
  • Address social and economic factors by embedding equity into plans, policies, and guiding practices now and in the future

We ask our members to refer to this resource and check the CDC website regularly, as the guidance will be updated as additional information becomes available. NRPA will also be monitoring this and other guidance and releasing new resources to the field over the next several weeks focused on a path to recovery. A component of the recovery framework will be dedicated to centering health equity in these efforts.”

Read more about NRPA centering on health equity in the COVID-19 response and recovery in this blog post


About the National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit