EDINA, Minn. — Under normal circumstances, Edina City Manager Scott Neal would like nothing more than to city parks filled with people, but the situation right now is anything but normal.
"This is a rotten decision to have to make. I mean, especially on a day like today 55 and sunny. Believe me, I wish we didn't have to do this,” Neal says.
As of Monday morning, the city of Edina banned all group-play at city parks and schools.
That means no pickup basketball games, baseball, soccer, or other team sports until further notice.
Neal says city workers had been getting complaints from residents who witnessed games with dozens of players on the same field at the same time.
“We just weren’t seeing the level of compliance we thought was important and so we wanted to move forward with this next step,” Neal says.
Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health says MDH is not recommending that all cities ban group sports, but if they're seeing a problem, they should do what needs to be done.
She says every city and park is different, it's why you might see one playground completely closed down and another that's still open.
"If you have a huge park, and there's 100 people at that park, but they're all quite far away from each other, that's less of a problem then if you have 15 people that are standing kind of all clumped together," Ehresmann says.
Neal says the city is still encouraging people to go out and enjoy city parks, just not in big groups that can put you and others in danger.
"We want to try to do our part as a community, because we exist in a much larger community and we all need to do our part," Neal says.
City workers will be out at every park in Edina to educate residents about the ban.
Neal says he’s hoping to see voluntary compliance, but the city is prepared to issue citations if they need to.
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