Charlotte parks filled despite social distancing orders

Charlotte parks filled despite social distancing orders

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The sun was shining outside this weekend.

Sunday was a beautiful day, and tempting for people to go outside.

The parks were also busy, especially at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.

A viewer granted permission for WBTV to use a video of the crowded park.

There were people playing sports and not paying attention to health officials advising to maintain six feet from each other, also known as social distancing.

This is the first weekend under the statewide “stay at home” order.

Mecklenburg County leaders said earlier this week that they don’t think enough people are taking the statewide and local “state at home” orders seriously.

Last weekend, officials said the parks were too full and hoped for better cooperation this weekend.

The statewide “stay at home” order hasn’t stopped people from enjoying a sunny, pleasant day at local parks.

Park-goers had mixed reactions to people at the park.

Some told WBTV they felt safe in parks and that people were social distancing. Others said they were disappointed with people over the weekend not following the order.

Viewers sent in photos of Romare Bearden Park, calling it ‘packed.' But park-goers at Freedom Park said it was quieter than last weekend.

Aidan Lanuto spent Saturday afternoon rollerblading with this dad through Freedom Park.

"Many dogs, people on bikes, I saw a few people on scooters and a few people on blades too,” Lanuto said.

They were joined by hundreds of more people. “A lot of people,” Ezra Morgan said. “You can’t blame them. It’s a super nice day.” Although the park was busy, there weren’t any large groups, and there were parking spots that were left empty all day.

Compare that to two weekends ago and you have a different picture.

"My main concern, I didn’t really have the option of social distancing because there were so many people but now there are not as many people,” park visitor Cyacna said.

The county said it would closely watch how the community responded this weekend, to see if crowds were better, and to see if more rigid restrictions needed to be put into place.

“We’ve been out here consistently, and last week there were a lot of people out here,” Cyacna said. “I think that they’re taking those orders and are following it more seriously.”

Park-goers hope people take the order seriously everyone can get back to normal.

"People doing their exercises and finding creative ways, but we all understand why the parks are parks are being closed and the certain facilities we can’t use no more,” park visitor Cornelius Foster said.

When WBTV was at Freedom Park on Saturday, there were park rangers going through the park telling people to stay off of playground equipment.

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