Access to parks is, and will be, threatened by our collective need to physically distance and control the spread of COVID-19. During this time, we all must work together to ensure that these vital parks and open spaces remain open, accessible, welcoming and inclusive to all people. We must follow the proper guidance on the Use of Parks and Open Space While Maintaining Social Distancing, and there are many ways to do this and still have some fun! We have to work together so we can continue to enjoy these spaces safely.
The photo gallery below features pictures of healthy physical distancing in parks that we’ve collected from staff and people out in our communities. We hope that you will share these or your own photos to normalize what physical distancing in parks looks like. Please share how you, your household and/or community are staying safe in parks and maintaining proper physical distancing protocols with us on social media using #PhysicalDistancingInParks.
A few of these photos are from the park in my own backyard, where I was overcome with joy when I saw people from all walks of life together but separate, doing what brought them happiness — a little girl and her father blowing bubbles, roommates kicking a soccer ball, an older woman practicing martial arts, a couple running laps and people taking their dogs for a walk.
Parks and recreation are vital to our health and well-being and create stronger communities that can protect and better recover from environmental, social and economic challenges — just like the COVID-19 pandemic that we face today. Every day local park and recreation professionals and champions are working on innovative, long-term solutions to ensure that our communities have fair and just access to great parks and green space, recreation facilities and programs.
Rachel Banner is NRPA’s Director of Park Access.
Captions for photos in the gallery below:
Picture 1: A park with many people engaged in various activities all at least 6 feet from one another. Photo courtesy of Rachel Banner.
Picture 2: A couple and roommate who live together kicking around a soccer ball. Photo courtesy of Rachel Banner.
Picture 3: An older adult practicing martial arts. Photo courtesy of Rachel Banner.
Picture 4: An older adult couple walking on the trail. Photo courtesy of Julie Boland.
Picture 5: A family going on a hike with their dogs. Photo courtesy of Cassie Pais.
Picture 6: A couple enjoying nature and keeping their distance from others. Photo courtesy of Maureen Acquino.
Picture 7: A person rollerblading on a path. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @lost_immoment
Picture 9: People enjoying a picnic in a park by the water. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @jenna_zh