CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County’s Parks and Recreation facilities will be closing some facilities to the public until at least the end of January.
The closures, effective Friday, Jan. 15, will affect all indoor services. Parks will remain open until dusk every day.
“As we’ve all seen, our COVID-19 numbers are continuing to rise, and Mecklenburg County government wants to not only comply with the directive, but to set an example in the community we can encourage others to follow,” County Manager Dena Diorio said during a press conference on Thursday.
The full list of changes include:
- Parks – closing at dusk
- Athletic Fields – Reservations are not being accepted at this time
- Outdoor shelters are open on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations are not being accepted and group members who do not share a household may not gather
Amenities closed to the public include:
- All Recreation, Senior and Nature Centers
- Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center
- Indoor Shelters
- Camping at McDowell Nature Preserve
- The Skatepark at Naomi Drenan Recreation Center
“We are basically going back to where County services were during the Stay-at-Home Order last spring,” said Diorio. “Our COVID numbers are going up, not down, so for the next three weeks, only essential and mandated services that cannot be performed virtually will be provided in-person.”
The news comes as Public Health Director Gibbie Harris issues a directive asking residents to stay home as much as possible for the next three weeks while the fight continues against COVID-19.
Director Gibbie Harris issued the public director’s directive, similar to one issued by NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen.
The Directive is effective immediately and will remain in effect for the next three weeks, until Feb. 2, 2021.
Individuals in Mecklenburg County are directed to take several immediate actions including (but not limited to):
- Only leave your home for essential activities and remain at home between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., unless an exception as set forth in the Governor’s Executive Order
- Utilize full-virtual options for work, school and any other activity where in-person activity is not required.
- Avoid leaving your home if you are over 65 or at high-risk for developing serious illness.
- Avoid any non-essential travel.
- Avoid gathering with individuals that you do not live with.
- WEAR, a cloth face covering, WAIT 6 feet apart and avoid close contact, and WASH your hands often or use hand sanitizer.
- Quarantine and get tested if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.
- Answer the call and participate in contact tracing to protect against further spread if you receive a call or text from Mecklenburg County Public Health.
- Get a flu shot and get the get the COVID-19 vaccine, when it is available to you.
A full list of immediate actions individuals should take is available here.
The directive comes as COVID-19 cases in Mecklenburg County continue to grow at an exponential rate – from an average of 100 cases per day in September, to an average of 900 cases per day in mid-January.
“The exponential growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and related deaths require immediate action on the part of every member of our community,” said Public Health Director Gibbie Harris.
Harris says people should avoid gatherings of any type, which includes schools. She says her directive is not a mandate, but she wants schools to consider the risks.
She says she asked Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools not to open all schools if they were going to open. She says the exposures reported in schools aren’t actually coming from the schools, but instead the communities.
Harris added that people have to make their own decisions.
“If you walk into a business and it’s crowded or people aren’t wearing masks, I would suggest you not go into that business [and come back later],” she said.
“What we are talking about is a short period of time where people can limit their gathering in a community as much as they can,” Harris said. “We know that can make a difference.”
The Directive was announced Tuesday afternoon during the Board of County Commissioners Budget and Public Policy meeting.
More information about the COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County and the COVID-19 vaccine is available at www.MeckNC.gov/COVID-19 or by calling the Public Health COVID-19 hotline at 980-314-9400.