The city of Fresno announced it will limit access to city parks starting on Wednesday, by closing down park parking lots. The goal is to promote social distancing in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
“We remind everyone that it’s important for all of us to change our behaviors and keep the entire community safe,” a city news release stated. “Get some exercise, hike, walk or run the trails, but not near other people. Walk your dog, but not around dozens of others. Be safe, be sensible, be respectful.”
The city said the parking lot closures would apply to all city parks, including regional facilities such as Woodward Park and Roeding Park. For the past few days, the city has not been charging an admittance fee for autos.
The parks and playgrounds themselves, however, remain open.
The move follows other regions in California that have shut down parking lots at parks, including Los Angeles and Marin County.
A city spokesman said there was no particular incident that led to the closure, just general observation and reports on social media.
The city of Clovis says its parks remain open, but it has suspended its reservation system for park tables. The city reminds park users to practice social distancing.
Closure Follows Other City Actions
The parking lot closure does not fall under an emergency order, but rather Mayor Lee Brand’s purview.
Since the Fresno City Council voted on March 16 to ratify Brand’s emergency declaration, City Manager Wilma Quan — acting as Emergency Services Director — has made five emergency orders thus far. They include shutting down bars and dine-in restaurants, a voluntary shelter-in-place order (since made mandatory by an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom), and instruction on which city employees can work and which should stay home.
The city also established a list of businesses considered essential, which can remain open, and those non-essential businesses which cannot. That list can be found here. The city’s webpage detailing what services are still available, and what services have been altered can be found here.
The city council also enacted other emergency orders, including a moratorium on evictions from commercial or residential rentals because of COVID-19 related financial hardships, and strengthening anti-price gouging ordinances.
COVID-19 Town Hall
GV Wire and CMAC collaborated on a video town hall with Mayor Lee Brand and other city leaders to answer questions about the city’s response to COVID-19. It was sponsored by the office of city councilman Mike Karbassi. Watch it below.