MINNEAPOLIS — Summer will look a little different this year around the City of Minneapolis.
City officials announced on Thursday that, in response to the coronavirus, it will not be opening its outdoor water facilities, which includes beaches, wading pools, water parks and the Webber Natural Swimming Pool.
"The level of public congregation that takes place at aquatic facilities and the level of staff required to operate these facilities will make it impossible to open and manage these facilities safely this summer," said the city in the statement.
The city said parks and trails will remain open, along with parkways, playgrounds, athletic fields, golf courses and dog parks, but certain settings that aren't conducive to social distancing will remain closed.
"Based on the Governor’s forecast and concern for the health and safety of park visitors and employees, the MPRB (Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board) is bracing for a future that drastically changes services and programs this spring and summer. All plans are designed to ensure social distancing, prevent congregating and protect the health of the public and employees," the statement said.
All program buildings remain closed until further notice, as are restrooms and drinking fountains.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) elaborated on the announcement Friday, saying facilities could re-open if circumstances change.
“If the forecast changes and we able to provide summer services beyond what is currently planned, we will do so as resources allow,” Superintendent Al Bangoura said in a statement. “Right now, our planning is based on the March 25 scenario shared by Governor Walz that predicts the epidemic peak at 14 weeks, or early July. We interpret this to mean people will continue to get sick beyond that peak projection date, and public health and safety measures will be needed well into July and August.”
The Park Board also emphasized that programs would be cancelled only if they cannot be modified or done virtually.
MPRB also noted that event cancellations only apply to MPRB-produced events, and currently does not include permitted events by outside organizations.
"All permitted events and permitted programs as scheduled are still on, unless external organizers choose to postpone or cancel their events. For instance, the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon (which is a non-MPRB event) is still scheduled as planned," the board's statement said.
MPRB also said it is following MDH guidelines and will allow as many spring and summer recreational activities as possible, including, according to the statement:
- All restaurants/concessions still intend to open per usual, including takeout options as directed via the Governor’s orders.
- Sailing School (both in-house and contracted) programming is currently under evaluation for the opportunity of safe summer operation.
- All watercraft and other rentals are slated to open as normal, with social distancing and sanitization planning.
- Sailboat buoy program is still scheduled to operate, with a delayed buoy draw process
- Canoe rack storage are still scheduled to operate this season.
- Boat launches are slated open May 1.
- Fishing, sailing, canoe docks will be installed per usual.
- Lakes are open for boating and fishing.
- Summer recreation center programming is being evaluated for safe summer operation; however, registration is currently on hold. This includes Music and Movies daily summer programs.
- Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden intends to open for the season – with social distancing measures in place for safe enjoyment of the space.
For more information on city closures/cancellations, visit the city's website.
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