City of Alexandria and ACPS Close Recreation Centers, Playgrounds, Fenced Play Areas; Parks and Trails Still Open
For Immediate Release: March 21, 2020
To encourage social distancing and slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the City of Alexandria and the Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) have closed the following public play spaces until further notice:
- Recreation, nature and art centers
Fenced basketball and tennis courts
Fenced dog parks
Park amenities, including restrooms and parking lots
The Alexandria Health Department (AHD) has recommended these changes because public play areas have continued to attract groups of more than 10 people despite earlier warnings against this practice. Social distancing -- including avoiding gatherings and maintaining at least six feet of personal space whenever possible -- is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of the virus. It is also not feasible for City and ACPS staff to clean and disinfect outdoor play surfaces on a constant basis.
AHD strongly urges all community members to change their daily behavior to reduce risk from COVID-19, particularly to protect our most vulnerable populations. Public health officials have noted evidence of community transmission of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Northern Virginia, and each individual is a critical part of slowing the spread of the virus.
All unfenced parks, trails and fields remain open to the public. The City, ACPS and AHD believe that safe, socially distant opportunities for exercise are crucial for our community, to maintain both physical and mental health. Patrons are urged to practice social distancing and wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol, to protect themselves and others. Signage with these guidelines is being posted at play areas.
Protect Yourself and Others, Especially Vulnerable Community Members
Wash Your Hands. Rub hands together with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Use Hand Sanitizer. If you can’t wash your hands, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol as you would wash your hands, rubbing them together for 20 seconds.
Don’t Touch Your Face. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Stay Home. If you are feeling sick, stay home. If you are well, avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Use Your Elbow. Cough and sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash, and wash your hands.
Disinfect Surfaces. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Manage Stress. The CDC recommends taking breaks from exposure to the news; take deep breaths or meditate; try to eat healthy; get sleep or rest; make time to do activities you enjoy; and connect with others to share your feelings.
For more information about the COVID-19 coronavirus and how you can help protect yourself and those around you, visit alexandriava.gov/Coronavirus. For questions about COVID-19, call the Alexandria COVID-19 Information Line at 703.746.4988, weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Virginia residents can also call the Virginia Department of Health public information line, 877-ASK-VDH3, for questions about the novel coronavirus situation. If you have chest pain or shortness of breath, call or text 911.
For inquiries from the news media only, contact Craig Fifer, Director of Communications and Public Information, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3965.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/114329.