As park and recreation professionals work towards a path to recovery from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, it is essential to take a thoughtful and methodical approach to reinstating operations that protects public health and safety. This section of the Path to Recovery Framework includes guidance on commonly managed park and recreation spaces, facilities and programs, outlining considerations for reinstating operations.

  • Open or CloseAthletic Fields

    Park and recreation professionals will need to consider several key factors in plans to reopen athletic fields. The primary factor to consider is if the space allows for safe use as outlined in your phased reopening plan – including the need to implement and enforce additional mitigation strategies (physical distancing, limiting gatherings, supporting hygiene, etc.) and personal protection measures. Professionals should conduct a thorough risk assessment of each space, facility, program and event prior to reopening.

    Park and recreation professionals should adhere to all state and local public health guidance regarding athletic fields operations and management. In addition, park and recreation professionals should conduct thorough planning prior to reopening, addressing these factors:

    1. Evaluation of your facility and space to better understand the surfaces, materials and risks that are present.

    2. Develop a plan for reopening. Plan should include:

    • Community education and awareness. Ensure that patrons, including other sports organizations, are aware of public health and safety measures, including personal protection and hygiene measures. Disseminate information across a variety of communication channels including signage on site, webpages, social media, PA announcements, etc.

    • Cleaning and disinfection measures for frequently touched surfaces (door handles, sink handles, drinking fountains, restrooms, benches, bleachers) in accordance with CDC’s cleaning and disinfection guidance. Ensure the safe storage and use of disinfectants. With limited capacity, park and recreation professionals could consider identifying and training a volunteer coach or adult to ensure proper cleaning and disinfection.

    • Establishing safety protocols for removal of garbage bags or disposal of trash.

    • Monitoring and enforcing physical distancing in all areas of the facility. Implement environmental controls and modify layouts to support physical distancing and limit person-to-person contact including installing markers, signage, controlling traffic flow, etc.

    • Following all CDC guidelines for concession stands, food preparation and sales and limit person-to-person interactions by implementing touch-free transactions at concessions stands and other entry points.

    • Eliminating equipment sharing (tractors, mowers, field liners, storage lockers, etc.) as much as possible and sanitize all shared equipment after each use according to CDC cleaning and disinfection guidance.

    • Ensuring that all facility users/renters are following the same protocols.

    3. Maintain and revise your plan as needed through recovery phases.

     

    Maintenance of Athletic Fields

    COVID-19 may have impacted the ability of park and recreation professionals to properly maintain fields. Prior to reopening, fields should be assessed, and maintenance should be performed to ensure the health and safety of the public.

    The Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA) provides some guidance in their Route to Recovery Guide on proper field maintenance when returning to play.

  • Open or CloseBeaches and Waterfronts

    Park and recreation professionals will need to consider several key factors as they plan to reopen beaches and waterfronts. The primary factor to consider is if the space allows for safe use as outlined in your phased reopening plan – including the need to implement and enforce additional mitigation strategies (physical distancing, limiting gatherings, supporting hygiene, etc.) and personal protection measures. For example, a public beach or waterfront may provide space for physical distancing and household-unit activities, but if physical distancing cannot be enforced or if the public is not adhering to physical distancing measures, the space may not be able to reopen safely or may need to limit certain types of activities until there is no widespread community transmission of the virus.

    Professionals should conduct a thorough risk assessment of each space and amenity before reopening. NRPA recommends that beaches reopen in a phased approach to allow sufficient time for monitoring, navigating unexpected challenges and ensuring that transmission rates do not increase. Professionals should consider opening beaches for recreational use and household unit use (walking, etc.) before allowing small and larger group gatherings for extended periods of time (sunbathing, etc.).

    Additionally, park and recreation professionals should have plans in place to support the recommendations outlined below when reopening beaches:

    Communications:

    • Post clear signage outlining allowable activities, use and enforcement.

    • Ensure that the public is aware and educated about the public health and safety measures that are in place including limits on certain activities and gatherings, encouraging good hygiene, staying home when sick and wearing face coverings.

    • Have a plan in place to reinstate mitigation measures, including closures if the public is not adhering to recommendations or if transmission increases.

    Physical Distancing and Limiting Gatherings:

    • Have a plan in place for monitoring and enforcement of physical distancing, including limiting capacity on the beach. Strategies to monitor physical distancing and limit capacity may include:

       - Instituting a timed pass system

       - Limiting parking spaces

       - Limiting access points

       - Training and deploying beach ambassadors to educate beachgoers about physical distancing (lifeguards should not be responsible for monitoring physical distancing – they need to focus on water safety)

       - Stationing beach ambassadors at access points

       - Sharing public service announcements over speakers to remind people of physical distancing

       - Using tape or cones to mark 6 ft. intervals in popular areas on boardwalks or at beach access points

       - Limit gatherings as outlined in your phased reopening plans (ex. Phase 1 typically prohibits gatherings larger than 10 people).

    Cleaning, Disinfection and Supporting Hygiene:

    • Support hygiene and public health (e.g. ensure access to wash stations, clean restrooms, hand sanitizer, etc.).

    • Frequently clean and disinfect restrooms and other commonly shared surfaces and spaces around the beach according to CDC guidance (permanent benches, railings, showers, etc.).

    • Ensure all vendors are following cleaning and disinfection guidance.

    Equipment Sharing:

    • Discourage activities that involve equipment sharing outside of the same household.

    • Close off equipment, including playgrounds or outdoor exercise equipment that is difficult to keep clean and disinfected and challenging to monitor physical distancing.

    • Ensure that any shared equipment, including rental items, are cleaned and disinfected between use (chair, umbrella rentals, kayaks, etc.).

    Protecting Staff and Beach Ambassadors:

    • Ensure that staff has the personal protective equipment necessary to do their job safely.

    • Ensure that beach ambassadors are trained in handling difficult situations, know that they can avoid situations that make them uncomfortable, and know when to call for additional support.

  • Open or CloseChildcare Programs and Summer Camps

    Childcare Programs

    CDC has issued guidance for childcare programs including Pre-K, Head Start programs, private and home childcare, and temporary childcare centers operated by municipalities for essential workers. Topics covered include:

    • General preparedness

    • Guidance for childcare centers currently open

    • Social distancing strategies

    • Parent drop-off and pick-up

    • Screening children upon arrival

    • Cleaning and disinfection

    • Caring for infants and toddlers

    • Healthy hand hygiene behavior

    • Food preparation and meal service

    • Vulnerable/high-risk groups

    Summer Camps

    For communities where spread has slowed, CDC has issued official guidance and considerations for summer camp programs as of May 19, 2020. These considerations are outlined to help protect campers, staff and communities, and maintain low levels of the spread of COVID-19. Agencies should still consult with local and state health officials to determine if and how to put these considerations into place.

    Guiding principles shared by CDC outline that the risk of exposure and spread will increases the more people a camper or staff member interacts with and the longer that interaction occurs. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in youth camp settings as follows:

    • Lowest Risk: Small groups of campers and staff stay together all day, each day. Campers remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., city, town, county, community).

    • More Risk: Campers mix between groups but remain at least 6 feet apart and do not share objects. Outdoor activities are prioritized. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

    • Even More Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

    • Highest Risk: Campers mix between groups and do not remain spaced apart. All campers are not from the local geographic area (e.g., community, town, city, or county).

    Camp administrators should consider implementing several strategies to encourage behaviors and maintain operations that reduce the risk of spread. Detailed guidance is provided by CDC. These strategies include:

    Promoting healthy and protective measures

    • Encouraging campers and staff to stay home when sick.

    • Teaching and reinforcing proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

    • Teaching and reinforcing the use of cloth face coverings.

    • Ensuring adequate supplies are on hand.

    • Posting reinforcing signs and messages.

    Maintaining healthy environments

    Engage in frequent cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched surfaces and shared equipment.

    • Discourage the sharing of items and personal belongings.

    • Ensure proper ventilation.

    • Ensure all water systems and features are safe to use after a prolonged shutdown.

    • Modify layouts to encourage physical distancing.

    • Install physical barriers for added protection.

    • Close shared communal spaces, including playgrounds.

    • Limit the sharing of food and ensure food safety practices are in line with CDC recommendations.

    Maintaining healthy operations

    • Ensure protections for staff and campers who are at higher risk of severe illness.

    • Be aware of local regulatory controls and policies.

    • Identify small groups (cohorts) and keep them together to limit interaction outside of groups.

    • Stagger scheduling, including arrival and drop-off times.

    • Avoid gatherings, visitors and field trips where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    • Designate a COVID-19 point of contact.

    • Establish and implement a communication plan.

    • Have flexible time off policies for staff and back-up staffing plans.

    • Train all staff on safety protocols, PPE, communications, and chain of command.

    • Recognize signs and symptoms and conduct health screenings of campers and staff.

    • Reduce sharing of spaces between groups.

    Prepare for when someone gets sick

    • Advise sick individuals of home isolation criteria.

    • Isolate and transport those who are sick.

    • Clean and disinfect.

    • Notify health officials and close contacts.

    Additionally, the American Camp Association has developed a comprehensive camp operations field guide with more detailed information and NRPA has created a Summer Camp Reopening Decision tool to help support decision-making about reopening.

    Download a Printable Summer Camp Reopening Decision Tool


    Other resources available:

    • CDC Summer Camp Guidance

    • CDC Resources for Schools, Childcare and Youth Sports

      - Childcare during the COVID-19 Pandemic

            ○ Decision Tool

      - Youth Programs and Camps during the COVID-19 Pandemic

            ○ Decision Tool

      - Youth Sports Program during the COVID-19 Pandemic

    • American Camp Association Camp Operations Guide

    • American Camp Association Resource Center

    • Association of Camp Nurses Resource Center

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

  • Open or CloseCommunity Events

    Park and recreation professionals frequently plan and host community events and mass gatherings including festivals, sporting events and concerts. These events and mass gatherings can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 as it can be difficult to maintain physical distancing and people may travel back and forth from other communities, contributing to spreading the virus.

    Professionals should adhere to all guidance issued at the state and local levels from public health and government officials related to limiting the size of gatherings. As other spaces, facilities and programs reopen, agencies should continuously assess community conditions and make decisions about cancelling, postponing or reducing the size of events to reduce the risk of spread.

    When making decisions about reinstating events, professionals will need to assess:

    • The level of transmission in the community and in areas from which people will travel.

    • The overall number of attendees.

    • The population served and number of people attending who may be high-risk.

    • The density of attendees in a confined area and the area where event would occur (e.g. outdoor vs. indoor).

    • The feasibility in limiting the number of people attending.

    • The ability to make modifications to the event that support adherence to physical distancing.

    • The supplies needed to protect event attendees and staff.

    • The level of community awareness and education about the additional public health and safety measures in place.

    • The likelihood of attendees following public health and safety measures and the ability to monitor and enforce measures.

    Based on challenges with maintaining physical distancing and limiting person-to-person contact, NRPA believes that large community events and large gatherings should not occur until there is no widespread community transmission and ideally, until there is a widely available vaccine.

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

    Other resources available:

    CDC guidance on events and mass gatherings

  • Open or CloseDog Parks

    CDC issued guidance for people who have animals on April 21, 2020. The guidance states “until we learn more about how this virus affects animals, treat pets as you would other human family members to protect them from a possible infection.”

    They have gone on to further advise people who have pets to follow these guidelines until we learn more about how the virus affects animals:

    • Do not let pets interact with people or other animals outside the household.

    • Keep cats indoors when possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people.

    • Walk dogs on a leash, maintaining at least 6 feet (2 meters) from other people and animals.

    • Avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

  • Open or CloseFarmers Markets

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

    Other resources available:

    Farmers Market Coalition Market Operations Guidance

    The Farmers Market Coalition has provided guidance to local farmers markets regarding operations.

  • Open or CloseGolf Courses

    Park and recreation professionals will need to consider several key factors in plans to reopen golf courses. The primary factor to consider is if the space allows for safe use as outlined in your phased reopening plan – including the need to implement and enforce additional mitigation strategies (physical distancing, limiting gatherings, supporting hygiene, etc.) and personal protection measures. Professionals should conduct a thorough risk assessment of each space, facility, program and event prior to reopening. Professionals should also ensure that their reopening plans are equitable and provide equal opportunities for all community members to recreate.

    • Ensure that patrons are aware of public health and safety measures, including personal protection and hygiene measures. Disseminate information across a variety of communication channels including signage, webpages, social media, etc.

    • Limit person-to-person interactions by implementing touch-free transactions including making reservations online (no walk-up tee times), paying course fees, purchasing equipment or food, etc.

    • Monitor and enforce physical distancing in all areas of the facility – driving range, course, practice greens, in pro shop, etc. Implement environmental controls to support physical distancing and limit person-to-person contact.

    • Encourage walking the course as much as possible.

    • Eliminate equipment sharing as much as possible and sanitize all shared equipment after each use according to CDC cleaning and disinfection guidance (carts, clubs, etc.).

    • Stagger tee times to allow for enhanced cleaning and disinfection between players and limit practice facility usage if necessary.

    • Limit cart use to individual players and only allow carts to be shared when players

    • Establish a policy for group play and monitor and enforce policy.

    • Ensure restrooms and other commonly touched surfaces are properly cleaned and disinfected frequently according to CDC guidance.

    • Eliminate sit-down food and beverage service.

    • Remove sand containers, coolers, pencils, scorecards, movable flagsticks, coolers, and other items from carts and the course that could be subject to frequent contact.

    • Ensure you have contact information from all players.

    • Modify pro shop to support physical distancing and remove items that could be subject to frequent touching. Install 6 ft. markers in pro shop and sneeze guards, control traffic flow, ensure proper ventilation and air flow, etc.

    Find more detailed guidance from the National Golf Owners Association or a sample state plan from Washington.

  • Open or CloseIndoor Recreation and Aquatic Centers

    Park and recreation professionals should adhere to all state and local public health guidance regarding indoor recreation and aquatic center operations and management. In addition, park and recreation professionals should conduct thorough planning prior to reopening addressing these factors:

    1. Evaluate your facility to better understand the spaces, surfaces, materials and risks that are present.

    2. Develop your plan for reopening. Plan should include:

    • Cleaning and disinfection measures for all parts of facility (restrooms, pool furniture, front desk, concessions, doorknobs, locker rooms, faucets/sinks, etc.).

    • Physical distancing, limiting equipment sharing and enforcement policies.

    • Implementing environmental controls — barriers between staff and pool users, removal of furniture, entry lines with 6 ft of distance, rearranging equipment, installing sneeze guards, etc.

    • Facility user measures — proper hygiene, face coverings, health screenings, etc.

    • Staff safety measures — establish policies for safe behavioral practices (PPE, physical distancing, hand washing, face coverings, health screenings, protocols on first aid and CPR, etc).

    • Communications plan.

    3. Maintain and revise your plan as needed through recovery phases.

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.


    Other resources available:

    • Tennessee Pledge Exercise Facilities Guidelines

    In addition to strict adherence to CDC guidelines, the state recommends gyms, fitness/exercise facilities, or substantially similar facilities and activities put into place an assortment of measures to protect consumers and employees. 

    United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Return to Training Considerations Post-COVID-19
    The USOPC is dedicated to protecting the health and safety of Team USA. The purpose of this document is to provide athletes, coaches and sports organizations (including National Governing Bodies [NGBs]) with information they can use to assist them with developing their return to training programs in the context of COVID-19.

  • Open or CloseOutdoor Courts, Skateparks, etc.

    Outdoor Courts

    The reopening of many outdoor courts and other outdoor amenities is largely dependent on the types of activities that will occur in those spaces. Park and recreation professionals will need to consider several key factors as they plan to reopen these spaces.

    The primary factor to consider is if the space allows for safe use as outlined in your phased reopening plan – including the need to implement and enforce additional mitigation strategies (physical distancing, limiting gatherings, supporting hygiene, etc.) and personal protection measures. For example, an outdoor basketball court may provide space for physical distancing and single-use activities that limit equipment sharing, but if physical distancing cannot be enforced and park users are not adhering to physical distancing measures, the space may not be able to reopen safely until there is no widespread community transmission of the virus.

    Professionals should conduct a thorough risk assessment of each space and amenity prior to reopening. Additionally, park and recreation professionals can use Project Play’s Return to Play Risk Assessment tool that provides guidance on several common sports and strategies to minimize risk to participants and others.

    Courts should reopen based on their ability to meet the following criteria:

    • Clear signage posted outlining allowable activities, use and enforcement.

    • Allow for physical distancing and monitoring of distancing requirements.

    • Support single and individual use activities.

    • Limit equipment sharing outside of the same household.

    • Do not require frequent contact with surfaces.

    • Supports hygiene and public health (e.g. access to wash stations, clean restrooms, hand sanitizer, etc.).

    • Frequently clean and disinfect commonly shared surfaces and spaces around the court.

    • Ability to reinstate mitigation measures, including closures if the public is not adhering to recommendations or if transmission increases.

     

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

  • Open or CloseOutdoor Restrooms (Permanent and Temporary)

    CDC issued guidance for park administrators managing outdoor restrooms on April 10, 2020.

    If possible, restrooms should remain open if a park remains open for public visitation. If restrooms will be closed, notify visitors ahead of time so they can prepare appropriately. Ensure that open restrooms are:

    Operational with functional toilets.

    Cleaned and disinfected regularly, particularly high-touch surfaces such as faucets, toilets, doorknobs and light switches. Clean and disinfect restrooms daily or more often if possible. The EPA-registered household disinfectants listed here are recommended. Ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants and keep products away from children.

    Regularly stocked with supplies for handwashing, including soap and materials for drying hands or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

    Oftentimes, restroom facilities without running water, such as portable toilets and vault toilets, are not stocked with hand hygiene products. Agencies can rent stand-alone handwashing and sanitizing stations or encourage visitors to be prepared to bring their own hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for use in these facilities.

    Based on this guidance, both permanent and temporary outdoor restrooms should be opened when they can be regularly cleaned, disinfected and regularly stocked with supplies for handwashing. Restrooms that have closed should be prioritized in a reopening plan, as they support and promote healthy hygiene and public health.

  • Open or ClosePlaygrounds and Outdoor Exercise Equipment

    Cleaning and Disinfection of Playgrounds

    CDC has issued reopening guidance for cleaning and disinfection for outdoor areas.

    According to CDC, “outdoor areas, like playgrounds in schools and parks generally require normal cleaning, but do not require disinfection.” CDC provides the following guidance regarding cleaning of playgrounds and park amenities:

    • Do not spray disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds — it is not an efficient use of supplies and is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19 to the public.

    • High touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings should be cleaned routinely.

    • Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (mulch, sand) is not recommended.


    Reopening Playgrounds

    While many outdoor areas do not require additional disinfection measures, playgrounds and park equipment that is frequently touched by multiple people and easily becomes crowded poses another challenge when considering reopening.

    CDC specifically cites that “there are additional concerns with outdoor areas that may be maintained less frequently, including playgrounds, or other facilities located within local, state or national parks.”Some of these concerns include:

    • They are often crowded and could easily exceed recommended guidance for gatherings.

    • It can be challenging to keep surfaces clean and disinfected.

    • Although new guidance suggests that it is not the main way the virus is spreading, it is still possible that the virus can spread when young children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their unwashed hands to their eyes, nose or mouth.

    Based on these challenges, CDC advises park users to continue not to use playgrounds and other frequently touched equipment. Because of the concerns above, NRPA believes that playgrounds should remain closed until there is no widespread community transmission of the virus.

    NRPA is working on guidance to help park and recreation professionals reopen playgrounds safely. Check this page regularly for updates.

    Outdoor Exercise Equipment

    While many outdoor areas do not require additional disinfection measures, playgrounds and park equipment, including outdoor exercise equipment, that is frequently touched by multiple people and easily becomes crowded poses another challenge when considering reopening. Based on similar concerns around maintaining the cleanliness and sanitation of playgrounds, splashpads and other frequently touched equipment, along with challenges to physically distance, NRPA believes that outdoor exercise equipment should remain closed until there is no widespread community transmission of the virus.

    NRPA is working on guidance to help park and recreation professionals reopen outdoor exercise equipment safely. Check this page regularly for updates.

  • Open or CloseSenior Centers

    Given CDC guidance that all vulnerable individuals, including those aged 65+ and those with underlying chronic health conditions, should continue to shelter in place until there is no evidence of a rebound, senior centers operated by parks and recreation should not reopen at this time.

    Park and recreation professionals are encouraged to continue providing essential services to older adults including meal programs, food delivery, social connection efforts, wellbeing checks, and virtual programming.

    Following confirmation from state and local public health officials that there is no widespread community transmission of the virus, senior centers can reopen. Additional precautions should be taken to enforce physical distancing, enhance cleaning and disinfection, and implement other measures to minimize risk.

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

    Other Resources Available:

    National Council on Aging Resource Center

    CDC’s Older Adults Resource Center

    AARP

  • Open or CloseSports – Youth and Adult

    Engagement in outdoor recreation, including participation in drop-in and organized sports programs, plays a significant role in supporting physical and mental health. As park and recreation professionals begin to develop plans for reopening and resuming activities after meeting essential public health indicators, agencies must consider how to best create an environment that provides opportunities for exercise and physical activity while also minimizing the risk of transmission of the virus. Agencies should follow all state and local public health recommendations and policies in your area.

    The CDC currently recommends that people do not participate in organized activities or sports while community spread is occurring, stating “In general, most organized activities and sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer and football that are held on park fields, open areas and courts are not recommended. These activities and sports typically require coaches and athletes who are not from the same household or living unit to be in close proximity, which increases their potential for exposure to COVID-19.”

    In communities where spread has slowed, CDC has outlined considerations for sports programs to reopen while protecting players, families and communities and maintain low levels of spread. Agencies should still consult with local and state health officials to determine if and how to put into place these considerations.

    Guiding principles shared by CDC outlines that the risk of exposure and spread will increase based on:

    • The more people a child or coach interacts with.
    • The closer the physical interaction.
    • The more sharing of equipment by multiple players.
    • The longer the interaction with others.

    Therefore, risk can be different depending on the type of activity and increases in youth sports settings as follows:

    • Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with family members.
    • Increasing Risk: Team-based practice.
    • More Risk: Within-team competition.
    • Even More Risk: Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area.
    • Highest Risk: Full competition between teams from different geographic areas.

    Based on this guidance, agencies should outline a phased reopening plan that allows for lower-risk sports activities, including single-use or household activities, prior to moving towards small group activities that limit equipment sharing, and then reinstating sports programs that bring together larger groups of people who are not from the same household. Larger groups should not come together until there is no widespread community transmission.

    Agencies should assess the risk of each sports program examining the physical closeness of players, the length of time players are close to each other, the necessary sharing of equipment, the ability to physically distance, age of the players (older youth may be able to follow physical distancing and other protective actions more than younger age groups), players who may be at high risk, the size of the team, nonessential spectators, and travel outside the community. Additionally, sports programs should promote behaviors that reduce spread, maintain healthy environments and operations, and prepare for when someone gets sick.

    The Aspen Institute’s Project Play initiative has created a detailed risk assessment tool outlining several common sports and activities, along with how risk could be minimized in each activity. This tool can be used by park and recreation professionals as they determine types of activities and sports that would be allowable, with modifications, in each phase. A few examples are provided below.

    *It is important for all participants in activities at any phase to continue to follow CDC recommendations on cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, including sports equipment, hygiene guidance, wearing face coverings, physical distancing (for spectators as well), covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and staying home when sick.

     

    Activity Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3

    Basketball

    Single/individual use – shooting hoops by oneself or with household

    Small group use – shooting hoops with non-household members limiting the sharing of equipment

    Group use – pick up or organized game play with non-household members and shared equipment

    Tennis

    Single/individual use – practicing skills as an individual or playing with member of household

    Small group use – playing a match with a non-household member limiting the sharing of equipment

    Playing a match with non-household members with no efforts to minimize equipment sharing

    Baseball/Softball

    Single/individual use – practicing skills alone or with household members

    Small group use – training or practicing skills with a non-household member limiting the sharing of equipment

    Group use – pick up or organized game play with non-household members and shared equipment

    Soccer

    Single/individual use – practicing skills along or with household members

    Small group use – training or practicing skills with a non-household member limiting the sharing of equipment

    Group use – pick up or organized game play with non-household members and shared equipment

     

    While some sports programs may be put on hold until there is no widespread community transmission, there are lots of opportunities to engage in recreational activities that are low risk, including practicing yoga, tai chi or meditation, water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding, roller blading or roller skating, dancing, jumping rope, fishing, camping, playing yard games or participating in virtual physical activity programs.

    Other resources available:

    • CDC’s Guidance on Sports Programs

    • The Aspen Institute’s Project Play Resource Center

    • The Aspen Institute’s Project Play Return to Play Risk Assessment

    This risk assessment resource is designed to help people of all ages asses risk in a variety of common sport and recreation activities, including individual sports and team sports. The tool offers guidance on how sports can be restructured or modified to minimize the risk of transmission.

    • United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee - Sports Event Planning Considerations Post-COVID-19

    These recommendations may serve as a tool to spark thoughtful deliberation for event planners to create their own unique event plan specific to their sport and situation.

    • United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee – Return to Training Considerations Post-COVID-19

    These recommendations may serve as a tool to spark thoughtful deliberation for athletes, coaches and staff who will create training plans specific to their sport and situation.

  • Open or CloseSwimming Pools and Splashpads

    Swimming Pools

    Park and recreation professionals should adhere to all state and local public health guidance regarding swimming pool operations and management. In addition, park and recreation professionals should follow CDC guidance released on May 8 as they reopen aquatic facilities. Park and recreation professionals will need to conduct thorough planning prior to reopening, addressing these key factors:

    1. Evaluate your facility to better understand the spaces, surfaces, materials and risks that are present.

    2. Develop your plan for reopening. Plan should include:

    • Cleaning and disinfection measures for all parts of facility daily and after each use if equipment is shared (restrooms, pool furniture, front desk, pool noodles, concessions, doorknobs, locker rooms, faucets/sinks, etc.).

    • Monitoring of physical distancing to maintain 6 ft. of distance between people from separate households while not detracting from lifeguarding responsibilities. Ensuring policies are developed on enforcement of physical distancing.

    • Implementing environmental controls — barriers between staff and pool users, removal of furniture, entry lines with 6 ft of distance, shared spaces including offices, limiting equipment sharing, etc.

    • Swimming pool user measures — proper hygiene, face coverings (not while in water), conducting health screenings, using PSA system to remind users to distance, etc.

    • Staff safety measures — establish policies for safe behavioral practices (physical distancing, hand washing, face coverings, health screenings, protocols on first aid and CPR, etc).

    • Communications and community awareness and education plan.

    3. Maintain and revise your plan as needed through recovery phases.

    For additional guidance, see CDC's Considerations for Public Pools, Hot Tubs and Water Playgrounds During COVID-19


    CDC Resources for Water Management

    CDC’s Water and COVID-19 FAQs page states “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.

    While there is ongoing community spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, it is important for individuals as well as owners and operators of these facilities to take steps to ensure health and safety:

    • Everyone should follow local and state guidance that may determine when and how recreational water facilities may operate.

    • Individuals should continue to protect themselves and others at recreational water venues both in and out of the water — for example, by practicing social distancing and proper hygiene.

    • In addition to ensuring water safety and quality, owners and operators of community pools, hot tubs, spas and water play areas should follow the interim guidance for businesses and employers for cleaning and disinfecting their community facilities.


    Swimming Pool Park User Guidance

    There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the water. Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of pools should kill COVID-19.

    Swimming and other water-related activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity needed for a healthy life. If you are not sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it is safe to use swimming pools as long as steps are taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

    • Practice social distancing by staying at least six feet (two meters) from others.

    • Avoid large gatherings of more than 10 people.

    • Keep your hands clean by washing hands with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

    Swimming does carry some health risks. Visit CDC’s Healthy Swimming website for information to help you prevent illness and drowning, while having fun and enjoying the health benefits of swimming.


    Splashpads/Water Parks/Water Playgrounds

    CDC has issued guidance for hot tubs, water playgrounds or water parks.

    According to CDC, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread directly to humans from water in pools, hot tubs or spas or water play areas. Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (for example, with chlorine or bromine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should kill the virus that causes COVID-19.” While this means that regular operation, maintenance and disinfection should kill the virus, park users should not use these facilities at this time because:

    • They are often crowded and could easily exceed recommended guidance for gatherings.

    • It can be challenging to keep surfaces clean and disinfected.

    • Although new guidance suggests that it is not the main way the virus is spreading, it is still possible that the virus can spread when young children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their unwashed hands to their eyes, nose or mouth.

    Based on these challenges, CDC advises park users to continue not to use splashpads, water playgrounds or water park features and other frequently touched equipment. Because of the concerns above, NRPA believes that splashpads, water playgrounds and other water park features should remain closed until there is no widespread community transmission of the virus.

    • In communities experiencing high levels of heat where splashpads and water playgrounds are critical to reducing heat-related illness and serve as cooling centers, park and recreation professionals should develop plans for reopening these spaces that address the following considerations:

    • Installing signage clearly documenting allowable behaviors on site (staying home when ill, proper hygiene, physical distancing, etc).

    • Ensuring that community members are aware and educated about public health protection measures.

    • Ensuring that community members are aware and educated about public health protection measures and risk.

    • Encouraging proper hygiene, hand washing, and hand sanitizing – consider having wash stations and hand sanitizing stations on site to support these behaviors.

    • Having a system in place for monitoring physical distancing to ensure that the public is adhering to limitations on gatherings and not mixing with people outside their household.

    • Being prepared to revert back to closures if community spread increases

  • Open or CloseWork Spaces and Administrative Offices

    In addition to the public facilities you manage, park and recreation professionals will need to take into account how they create a safe work environment in their work spaces and administrative offices. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidance and considerations for cleaning and disinfecting your facilities.

    Additionally, NRPA has prepared a Workplace Reopening Decision Tool based on draft guidance released by the CDC to help guide you in the reopening process.

    Download a Printable Version of the Workplace Reopening Decision Tool

    Other resources available:

    CDC Decision Tools for Business and Workplaces:
       - Workplaces During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    CDC Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

    CDC Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), May 2020

    NRPA will provide more guidance as available. Check this page regularly for updates.

News Stories

6.4.20Top Story

Minneapolis parks halt relationship with city police

6.4.20Around the Country

Ore. state parks face pandemic-related shortfall

6.4.20Around the Country

Tennis courts, other amenities are reopening