Lawrence extends closures of rec centers, cancels programs through May 17
photo by: Mike Yoder/Journal-World File Photo
The City of Lawrence has extended the closure of its recreation facilities and canceled all spring programming, public reservations and permitted events through May 17.
The measure, announced Thursday in a news release, comes as local, state and national officials prepare for a long-term shutdown of daily life in an effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s Parks and Recreation department had previously closed its facilities through the end of March by order of the Lawrence-Douglas County health department. Thursday’s announcement extends those closures, shuts down the city-owned Eagle Bend Golf Course, and suspends public use of several other buildings. On Wednesday, the health department issued a stricter order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people until at least April.
Parks and Recreation facilities closed into May include: the Community Building, 115 W. 11th St.; the East Lawrence Recreation Center, 1245 E. 15th St.; Holcom Park Recreation Center, 2700 W. 27th St.; the Indoor Aquatic Center, 4706 Overland Drive; Prairie Park Nature Center, 2730 Harper St.; Sports Pavilion Lawrence, 100 Rock Chalk Lane; Eagle Bend Golf Course, 1250 E. 902 Road; The Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St.; the Union Pacific Depot, 402 N. Second St.; and the Santa Fe Train Station, 413 E. Seventh St. The train station will remain open for Amtrak arrivals and departures for the time being. Other City of Lawrence buildings remain closed to everyone but essential employees.
All spring Parks and Recreation programming has been canceled, including adult and youth sports leagues, although youth baseball leagues may resume when facilities reopen, the city said. Public reservations at facilities, practice fields, gazebos and shelters, as well as permitted right-of-way street events and special use park events are also canceled through May 17.
The city intends to automatically issue refunds for all reservations, permits and spring program enrollments. Those who were enrolled in spring adult sports and ongoing winter programs that were canceled will either be issued credits or a refund, if requested. Those seeking more information can email the parks department at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parks and Rec Director Derek Rogers told the Journal-World on Tuesday that the department currently employs about 80 full-time staff and 125 part-time workers, which include lifeguards, park maintenance staff, front desk receptionists, recreation instructors and sports league officials. Rogers said that, through March 29, part-time employees could continue to earn paychecks by helping with customer service and cleaning related tasks resulting from the closures and cancellations. No information was provided in Thursday’s announcement about how the extended closures would affect staffing into April and May.
More coverage: Coronavirus (COVID-19)
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Find all coverage of city, county and state responses to the virus at: ljworld.com/coronavirus/
What to do if you think you may have COVID-19
Patients who have symptoms — difficulty breathing, cough and fever — should stay home, immediately isolate themselves from others and call their health care providers. Patients should never show up unannounced at a medical office or hospital. Instead, they should call ahead to explain their symptoms and give health care workers the ability to minimize the risk to others.
If patients do not have health care providers, they may call the Lawrence Douglas-County health department’s coronavirus line, 785-856-4343.
For updated information on the outbreak, Kansas residents can email COVIDemail@example.com or call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF), which is staffed 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
More information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s website or the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health website.