ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George has shut down a number of parks in the city in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and maintain social distancing practices. It started with the shutdown of the Thunder Junction all abilities park and now Pioneer Park, the Skategeorge skate park, Snake Hollow Bike Park and all city playgrounds and gazebo equipment are closed for the time being.
Grassy areas in city parks remain open as of right now, but the restrooms at most of the parks have been closed.
“Those places, we saw that there were challenges with people creating and maintaining that social distance so we felt it was prudent to go ahead and close those,” St. George Director of Communications David Cordero said. “Right now, we are actively discouraging people from coming down here from elsewhere. We don’t want tourists right now. Later, when we turn the corner on all of this, we love having visitors here but right now we don’t. That factored into the decision with Pioneer Park because that’s one of those iconic spots that especially first-time visitors like to go and see.”
Pioneer Park is most known for the Dixie Sugarloaf, or Dixie Rock, and is a park frequented by both locals and tourists.
As far as a complete shutdown of all parks, Cordero mentioned how challenging it would be to accomplish. Most parks in the city cannot just be closed off to the public and it would also be hard to enforce.
“I don’t know how, other then putting signs up and hoping people obey,” Cordero said. “There’s a lot of grass areas and as far as cordoning it off, that’s not realistic. If people are at a place like Vernon Worthen for instance, and they’re just going to sit on the grass and relax with those in their immediate household then that’s fine.”
With certain parks shut down, Cordero also mentioned that those found jumping fences or moving barricades to get into parks could be cited.
“It’s not something that we’re actively seeking right now and it’s certainly not something we would want to do, but we could,” Cordero said. “We ask that people obey this situation and we look forward to reopening things as soon as the health experts say we should.”
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