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BREAKING: Arlington Parks to Partially Reopen Saturday

Exactly two months after closing amid the pandemic, Arlington’s parks are partially reopening in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Arlington County made the announcement shortly before 1 p.m., noting that a number of park amenities will remain closed.

“While parks will reopen, amenities in the parks such as playgrounds, picnic shelters, athletic courts, restrooms and dog parks will remain closed,” said a press release. “The County’s nearly 49 miles of trails and community gardens remain open, as they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Spraygrounds, tracks and skate parks are also still closed, the county said in a Q&A page. Some facilities may reopen early next month.

“Arlington anticipates a phased reopening of its Parks and Recreation facilities, with open spaces as a first step,” county officials wrote. “In early June, the County plans to reopen athletic fields (with restrictions), batting cages, dog parks, pickleball courts, shelters (with restrictions), tennis courts and outdoor tracks. As the County looks towards reopening additional park amenities, we will continue to monitor guidance from the national, state and local health officials.”

Summer camps and programs, however, remain cancelled.

Park-goers are being asked to maintain physical distancing — staying at least 6 feet apart — and groups of visitors should not exceed 10 people. Organized sports are still banned.

“Arlington County Police, park rangers, and park rovers will be monitoring parks, trails, playgrounds and fields to ensure people are social distancing and that groups are no bigger than 10 people,” the county said.

A growing scientific consensus suggests that the risk of coronavirus transmission outdoors is very low, though those who cannot maintain a safe distance from others are still encouraged to wear masks. Brief exposure from walking and jogging is likewise thought to carry few risks, though talking or singing in close proximity to one another for a sustained period of time may still be risky, even outdoors.

More on the park reopening from the county press release, below.

Effective, Saturday, May 23, 2020, Arlington County will reopen its 148 parks for limited use in accordance with COVID-19 safety guidelines from the Virginia Governor’s office and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While parks will reopen, amenities in the parks such as playgrounds, picnic shelters, athletic courts, restrooms and dog parks will remain closed. The County’s nearly 49 miles of trails and community gardens remain open, as they have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We need the community’s help in practicing safety guidelines so we can keep our parks open, and to allow staff the necessary time to prepare to open even more facilities and programs, when it’s safe to do so,” said Parks & Recreation Director Jane Rudolph. “As long as the community stays safe, we can stay open.”

Arlington anticipates a phased reopening of its Parks and Recreation facilities, with open spaces as a first step. In early June, the County plans to reopen athletic fields (with restrictions), batting cages, dog parks, pickleball courts, shelters (with restrictions), tennis courts and outdoor tracks. As the County looks towards reopening additional park amenities, we will continue to monitor guidance from the national, state and local health officials.

Park visitors are asked to adhere to the physical distancing and small group guidelines – keep at least six feet of distance from others and groups should not exceed 10 people. Don’t use any closed park amenities.  Face masks in public are recommended where proper distancing is not possible. Don’t use parks if you are sick or recently exposed to COVID-19.

While park open areas, community gardens and trails are open, park amenities will remain closed due to health safety concerns. At this time, organized sports are not allowed in parks.

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