The City of Lodi has closed its park playgrounds, drinking fountains and other park amenities until further notice, to protect public health in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re trying to do our part to help with the governor’s order and the county order to maintain social distancing,” city public information officer Jeff Hood said.

Because COVID-19 is highly contagious, and many children use the equipment at the same time, the playgrounds are now marked off limits, according to a news release from the city on Thursday afternoon.

In addition, park drinking fountains will be turned off until the governor’s and San Joaquin County’s stay-at-home orders expire.

“You have a lot of kids, all in the same space — a lot of hands and faces come in contact with surfaces,” Hood said.

The city doesn’t have the personnel to constantly disinfect playground surfaces as children are using them, he said.

While playgrounds and other park amenities — such as the exercise stations at Roget Park — are off limits, the parks are still open for visitors, and parking lots will be available.

Lodi residents are encouraged to enjoy the Lodi Lake Nature area, go for walks or take their pets on walks, as long as they don’t gather in large groups and continue to practice good social distancing. That includes keeping at least six feet away from people not in your immediate household, covering coughs and sneezes, not spitting on the ground, and washing hands frequently with hot water and soap, for at least 20 seconds.

Park restrooms will remain open for the comfort of visitors and to promote regular hand washing, the city said.

The city has already closed tennis and pickleball courts, and asks that people do not use the basketball courts due to the inability to maintain sufficient physical distance as recommended by health authorities.

“We’re looking for the public to cooperate and take a role in staying healthy,” Hood said.

For more tips on preventing the spread of COVID-19, visit covid19.ca.gov.

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