City of Lawrence lifts mask requirements for participants 12 and older at city recreation centers, other indoor facilities

In this file photo from July 22, 2016, players in The Hardwood Classic AAU basketball tournament fill courts at Sports Pavilion Lawrence.

The City of Lawrence announced Tuesday that it will no longer require those 12 and older to wear a mask while they are participating in sports leagues and activities at city recreation centers and other Parks and Recreation indoor facilities.

Masks or other face coverings will still be required at all recreation and aquatic facilities for those who are not actively participating in a program, activity or sports league, according to a city news release. In accordance with the ongoing Douglas County health order, those ages 2 to 11 must continue to wear a mask at all times while inside an indoor facility regardless of participation in an activity. Participants 12 and older must also continue to wear a mask when not participating on the field or court of play. All volunteer coaches and spectators must continue to wear masks at all times.

“As the conditions surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to change, the City wants to assure everyone that it is closely monitoring the latest information and will make necessary changes as warranted,” the city states in the news release. “The health and safety of our community and employees will continue to be our top priority.”

The Parks and Recreation department operates four recreation centers, a nature center and an indoor swimming pool, as well as various other outdoor facilities. Recreation centers include gymnasiums and other facilities that host sports leagues and other athletic programming, and they also have cardio and weight rooms that are open to the public.

All visitors at the Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St., must continue to wear a mask to protect the animals. All city employees must also continue wearing masks when in public indoor areas and areas where they cannot socially distance.

Free play — such as pickup basketball or soccer — will be allowed at all recreation facilities, but participants must wear masks when not actively playing on the court. Those using cardio and weight equipment will not be required to wear a mask, but will need to mask when exiting a machine and moving about the facility. At the present time, those using the track at Sports Pavilion Lawrence or walking in a gymnasium will still be required to wear a mask while walking or jogging.

The Douglas County Commission voted unanimously last month to extend the current health order that requires children ages 2 to 12 to wear masks while in indoor public spaces, with some exceptions, until Dec. 22. That age group was identified because those 12 and older are eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19.


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