PITTSBURGH, PA (March 30, 2020) The City of Pittsburgh is closing its basketball courts and overlooks to further enforce the social distancing rules necessary to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Pittsburgh residents have largely been following directives to stay at least six feet from others to stop the spread of the virus, others have not, especially in City parks.
Parks are remaining open, and residents are encouraged to use them to promote physical activity. But beginning today Public Works crews are removing basketball rims from courts, and closing off the Mount Washington overlooks. Those areas were commonly filled over the weekend with residents who were not following social distancing rules.
Group sports are not permitted in City parks. In addition to closing basketball courts, Public Safety officials will be monitoring soccer fields and other play areas to make sure social distancing rules are being followed. One soccer field in Riverview Park has already been closed.
Playgrounds have already been shut down, but some have continued to let children use them: residents are reminded that park equipment and playgrounds may not be safe, as the COVID-19 virus can live on surfaces for days.
Residents should also maintain social distancing when using park trails, which have been extremely crowded in recent days.
Public Safety officials are increasing efforts to encourage responsible behavior. Park Rangers and Police are patrolling parks more closely to provide reminders of proper social distancing, and Public Works is posting more signs to remind park and playground users of closures.
Residents are further reminded not to share food with Public Safety and other City personnel. While such offers are clearly being done with the best of intentions to show support for workers in these trying times, the risk of spreading disease among the City workforce is too great, and residents are encouraged to donate to food pantries instead.
Staying at home, practicing social distancing when outside and washing hands are important parts of the fight against the global COVID-19 pandemic. By doing their part Pittsburgh residents can help stop the spread of the disease and ease the mounting burden on the hospital workers and Public Safety officials on the front lines fighting for us all.
Timothy McNulty, Communications Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Togneri, Public Information Officer, email@example.com