At the beginning of Covid-19 closures in L.A. County, the City of L.A. closed its parks and recreation centers. Then over time it was determined that outdoor activities, including going to the beach, hiking and playing tennis and golf, was acceptable.
What was not acceptable? Children playing at a park or shooting basketball hoops.
Circling the News has followed activities at several parks since the shutdown and noticed that kids trying to make baskets and running up and down the court (not in organized games) have been doing so since April.
Yet then in August, stakes were put through basketball hoops at the Palisades Recreation Center and also at Penmar.
CTN contacted L.A. City Recreation and Parks Director Michael Shull and asked if there had been an uptick in Covid-19 cases traced to outdoor basketball hoops, which might explain the ban on basketball. CTN also noted that golf and tennis are not always available to those with limited economic means.
In an October 1 email, Shull said, “The use of basketball courts are prohibited under current Department of Public Health orders. It’s not at the Department’s discretion. We are doing our best to comply.”
CTN contacted the County Department of Public Health Communication Office, and on October 8 received the following email: “To clarify, people are encouraged to take part in outdoor activities with their household members. Household members can play an outdoor basketball game of HORSE together.
“The risk of spread with any sport is related to the physical closeness of or contact between players, whether players are from different households, whether the sport/activity is outdoor or indoor, and the length of time that players are close to each other and the amount of necessary touching of shared equipment and gear.
“Per the State, outdoor and indoor sporting events, assemblies, and other activities that require close contact or that would promote congregating are not permitted at this time.”
That clarification was emailed to Shull, and CTN hopes this leads to removal of the stakes on basketball hoops.
During the L.A. City Recreation and Park Board of Commissioners meeting on October 1, Shull also said he’s working with L.A. County on reopening playgrounds.
“They have not been released, yet,” he said, noting that when they do reopen it won’t be like a light switch, all at the same time. “We have 400 playgrounds, and we will need to clean them,” Shull said. “If we can’t operate under guidelines because of safety, I will make recommendations not to reopen.”
Today, CTN noticed that the Palisades playground was filled with small children and nannies in the late afternoon, and emailed Palisades Rec Center Erich Haas to ask if this playground had officially been cleaned and opened.
Pali Playground Opened:
CTN received an October 9 email, “Hi Sue, I am Karla and I work at Pali Rec Center. The playground equipment and sandbox areas are now open. Sadly not the fields, gyms or outdoor courts.”