L.A. County parks to close Easter Sunday

Plastic eggs are scattered across Central Park at the city's annual Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal
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In an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is set to close all botanic gardens, lakes, and local, community and regional parks to the public on Sunday for the Easter holiday.

While L.A. County park playgrounds, trails and trail heads have been temporarily closed with the “Safer At Home” order, the closure of park grounds was not included in that order, according to
Dora H. Nuñez, special assistant to the director and head of communications at Parks and Recreation.

“Our busiest days are Easter and Mother’s Day, so we typically get an influx of people and crowds,” Nuñez said.

The influx of visitors the holiday usually brings to parks would make it hard for the public to adhere to the required 6 feet of physical distancing, nor would it follow the prohibiting of group gatherings, according to Nuñez.

“That wouldn’t be possible because the whole purpose of going to a park would be to hang out with your family for Easter, or (have an) Easter egg hunt,” Nuñez added.

Mayor Cameron Symth also addressed the holiday during a Wednesday morning live stream, calling on residents to spend it with their small family groups.

“This is no time and no place for Easter picnics at the city (parks),” Smyth said. “While the parks and trails (are) expected to be open, weather permitting, again, that does not mean that you can have a large family gathering or large neighborhood gatherings or picnics at our community parks. Those public gatherings are still prohibited.”

While the city has also canceled its longstanding Easter Eggstravaganza event in light of the current health crisis, those who choose to utilize the city’s parks and trail system are asked to only do so in their own small family groups while continuing to practice physical distancing, Smyth added.

“We know Easter is a day of celebration for many park guests and fun tradition for L.A. County Parks, and we appreciate the public’s support and understanding as we collectively work to flatten the curve of the coronavirus,” Norma E. García, acting director of the county’s parks, said in a prepared statement.

Currently, all of the county’s play and sports equipment, indoor facilities, nature centers, golf courses, sports and recreation programs, and multi-use trails are closed to the public. Though park grounds remain open, with the exception of Sunday, physical distancing is required and group gatherings of any size are prohibited.

“I’m glad that we can at least continue to provide (a way) for those that really need to get some fresh air,” Nuñez added, referring to the parks remaining open.

For more information, visit parks.lacounty.gov/covid-19. To view all coronavirus-related stories, visit signalscv.com/category/news/coronavirus.

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