Effective 9 a.m. March 26 until further notice, active areas of parks in the city of Milton—including the playgrounds, ball fields, facilities and restrooms at Bell Memorial Park; the Broadwell Pavilion; the tennis facility at the former Milton Country Club; and the Cox Road athletic facility—will be closed to the public due to the outbreak of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, according to a March 25 press release. Nature trails at Bell Memorial, Birmingham, Freedom and Providence parks are still open for public use.
"We feel that these are locations where proper social distancing techniques may be difficult to achieve and where surfaces exist that may hold and potentially transmit the virus," Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood said in the release. "While we have been diligent in implementing enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols, our belief is that closing these facilities is in the public's best interest."
In the release, Lockwood said he has received numerous requests for himself and council members to issue a shelter in place order; however, he said as of today, this is not in the plans for the city of Milton.
"Directing that American citizens remain confined anywhere constitutes a significant intrusion into civil liberties. Requiring citizens to remain in their homes is a power that should be rarely employed by government," Lockwood said in the release. "The current pandemic has been declared an emergency at both the federal and state levels, yet while both the federal and state governments have the power to issue such 'shelter in place' directives, neither has chosen to do so."
However, Lockwood said he still recommends that residents make every effort to stay home if possible.
"The reality is, Milton residents are already voluntarily observing such restrictions. Generally, we are sheltering in place except for the occasional jog or run to the store," Lockwood said in the release. "I have every confidence that Milton citizens will do the right thing, simply because it is the right thing."
Milton announces closure of city parks, park facilities beginning March 26
Milton parks will be closed to the public beginning at 9 a.m. March 26 until further notice. (Kara McIntyre/Community Impact Newspaper)