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Milton reopens 'active' parts of City parks, including fields and courts

On May 8, Mayor Joe Lockwood announced the reopening of "active" parts of Milton parks. He noted extra sanitation measures by the City, while emphasizing citizens' role in keeping everyone healthy through social distancing, hand-washing, and other steps.

Below is the statement from Mayor Lockwood on the reopening: 

Like the rest of Georgia and the country, Milton still faces serious challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, there have been positive signs of late on everything from trends in new cases to much more available testing. Progress -- even if it's not complete, as this virus has not gone away -- leads to opportunity. This is why Gov. Kemp announced the first steps in his plan to bring some semblance of normalcy back to Georgia. And it's why Milton will do the same. Effective on Saturday, May 9, the City will reopen "active" components of our parks. This will be done thoughtfully, responsibly and methodically. And it's being done in large part because we recognize the benefits of being outside and active for our citizens' health.   

Any phased reopening will only succeed with the public's full cooperation. I cannot stress this latter point enough: Every visitor to our parks shoulders responsibility for not only their health and safety, but the health and safety of those around them. It is critical that anyone going to our parks follows proper safety protocols. That is the only way we'll be able to successfully keep our parks open.

Assuming this does happen, what exactly will change in Milton? Here's a rundown: 

As a reminder, the "passive" trails at Bell, Birmingham and Providence parks are open for walking and running -- just like they always have been.

It's important to recognize that we are not yet returning to business as usual. While lifting the "shelter-in-place" mandate, the Governor has ordered Georgians continue "social distancing" through at least May 13. It's very possible that guidance will extend beyond that date, perhaps well into the summer and beyond. There are still a lot of unknowns with COVID-19; what we do know is that it is contagious and has not disappeared in Georgia. So we have to be smart and sensitive not just to our own needs and risks but to those of others in our community.

This is why I am strongly urging citizens to be knowledgeable and to take extra precautions while at the park. This means:

The City will go above-and-beyond as well. We'll disinfect our playgrounds twice a day at Bell and once a day at Bethwell and Broadwell Pavilion, on top of our regular thorough cleanings. We've ordered sanitizer in addition to stocking bathrooms with soap. And we will have many signs up to remind people of what we all need to do.

For now, any organized sports on our City parks remain prohibited. We are still not renting out our facilities. Still, if all goes well -- if people continue "social distancing" and if we see positive trends in COVID-19 statistics -- we can move to the next phase. We don't have a timetable for that yet, though. And it is too important we get this right, for the sake of our citizens' health and safety. 

These last few months have been tough for everyone. But I cannot tell you how proud I've been of Milton's residents as well as our businesses. We have stepped up and done what is necessary for everyone's well-being. None of this has been easy. But we can and will get through this -- especially if we work together.