Minneapolis park leaders again urge visitors to use social distancing

The park board is adding signs like these to urge visitors to follow the social distancing rules.

As Minnesota's stay at home order is extended, the Minneapolis park board is once again urging visitors to obey social distancing at parks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Unlike St. Paul, which closed its playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts on Wednesday, the Minneapolis park board didn't announce any new closures on Thursday. They did, however, reiterate the need for social distancing and restrictions already put in place.

For instance, basketball is allowed for individuals and members of the same household. But there shouldn't be any pickup games. For tennis, no doubles games are allowed.

On playgrounds, only one household of children should be using a piece of equipment at one time.

In St. Paul, and in many other cities across the country, playgrounds have been closed. The city is also removing basketball hoops and tennis nets, saying there wasn't enough compliance to the stay at home order.

Minneapolis park leaders admit there continue to be reports of people not obeying social distancing rules within parks. But, they say they believe the parks are a vital resource and are reluctant to close them.

"Despite our efforts, we continue to see park users not following social distancing guidelines," said Superintendent Al Bangoura. "Locally and across the country, urban and suburban park agencies have had to close playgrounds, trails, athletic courts and athletic fields to the public, and we would really like to avoid having to do so."

The park board is continuing to put up signs around parks, urging visitors to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The signs also warn that non-compliance could lead to closures.

While the parks will remain open, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board did make the call to close beaches for the length of the summer.