The decision follows Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's order to temporarily close state parks and historical sites beginning April 7 to curb the spread of coronavirus.
"For the longer term, it seems to me that folks have been doing quite well at not congregating and not playing sports—certainly I know everyone's closed down their benches, their exercise areas," County Judge Lina Hidalgo said during an April 7 Harris County Commissioners Court meeting. "I do have the concern, though, that for the Easter weekend, I do think that it would be prudent to just shut [the parks] down. I think we're just inviting a problem and we might as well cut that out for this weekend and then we can go back to ... the more relaxed standards. I just think with the Easter weekend, it's a risk we shouldn't run. We can't risk everyone coming together for a weekend and, if we can help it, we ought to."
Following discussion with Harris County's four precinct commissioners, Hidalgo formally announced the closure April 8.
"We are at a critical moment in our fight against COVID-19, and we cannot afford to let our guard down,” Hidalgo said in a statement. “We’re heartened that the actions we’re taking are already saving as many as 4,500 lives across Harris County. For so many of our residents, Easter and Passover is a time for spiritual fellowship with others, and I want to encourage that to continue at home and online during this critical period. The sooner we come through this together, the faster we’ll be able to return to normalcy and get our economy back up and running again. ”
Following the weekend, Hidalgo said all county parks will reopen with limited access to amenities. Contact points, such as playgrounds, picnic areas, benches and water fountains, will remain temporarily shut down.
To view a complete list of Harris County parks, click here.