Local parks and recreation departments are closing down due to concerns about coronavirus


(WJBF) — The Augusta Recreation and Parks Department is closing all community centers and facilities until further notice. More than 30 parks and recreation centers in Richmond County are temporarily shutting down due to the coronavirus. However, Patriots Park and other parks in Columbia County are still up and running. Parks and rec directors across the area say they’re taking their own precautions.

“We haven’t had any discussions with administration or commissioners about shutting down any facilities or parks right now,” said John Luton.

Despite parks across Richmond County closing due to the coronavirus, Columbia County’s Director of Community Services says closing parks and rec centers have not been mentioned. He says the county’s sports schedule will mirror fall sports just like over the summer.

“We’re moving forward but with an understanding,” explained Luton. “We are telling parents who register to be ready for anything.”

In Richmond County, walking trails, basketball courts, athletic fields, picnic shelters, and playgrounds will remain open, so people can still get plenty of activity outside. For now, those closures will not impact fall sports in Richmond County. For Columbia County, Luton says, what the school system does may be a deciding factor.

“We probably follow what the schools do to some extent,” said Luton. “If the school district and athletics get pushed back, you will probably see us pushback sports.”

Hearing “play ball” this fall may come down to players, coaches, and parents educating themselves and taking the proper precautions to stay safe.

“You cannot eliminate the spreading of germs when you are playing any sports,” said Luton. “There still is that risk, but we are leaving it up to the parents.”

The decision to postpone high school football in Georgia came down late today. It remains to be seen if that will have an impact on rec department sports in Columbia County. Aiken does not plan to close its rec centers, but they’re asking people to wear masks to comply with the city’s ordinance.

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