BOSTON (CBS) — A number of towns and cities across the state have closed parks and playgrounds amid the coronavirus pandemic. While the Massachusetts Department of Public Health issued a stay at home advisory, Gov. Charlie Baker clarified Tuesday that he never ordered public parks to close.

“We did not advise shutting down parks, no. What we did advise was no more than 10 in a gathering and no basketball games, no touch football, none of the sort of athletic engagements in parks that would create the kind of person to person contact which we’ve all been saying for so long is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing,” Baker said at a press conference.

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini closed playgrounds and skate parks, dog parks, and ball fields Tuesday, though he said the decision “broke my heart.” Police will be checking out the areas to ensure residents follow the rules.

Mass Audubon and the Trustees of Reservations also said they would close their facilities.

The Marlboro Recreation Department closed playgrounds, outdoor courts, the skatepark and “exercise equipment areas” but told residents they “may still spend time outdoors in other locations.”

Franklin closed all recreational facilities last week.

Many communities, such as Somerville, Scituate, Revere, and Yarmouth, have followed suit.

“The stay at home advisory is an advisory, I said during the press conference yesterday that I don’t believe I can or should or that we can or should shut people in their homes for days on end. I don’t think it’s good for public health, I don’t think it’s the right decision,” said Baker. “People do need to go to the grocery store. If they work in essential business or they work providing an essential service they need to be able to do that. They need to be able to go to the pharmacy. If they work in healthcare, they need to be able to go to the healthcare institution they work for, which is why the stay at home information that the department and the command center put out is an advisory.”

Comments (5)
  1. Moses says:

    Can anyone explain something for me? I listen to Governor Baker, I listen to Director of MEMA. I listen to the Director to the Dept. of Public Health and Many other top ranked state officials paid 200K to over 300K per year; I listen to how they are going to recognize a problem before it happens, I listen to how they are going to prevent the crisis from growing bigger. The problem is, THEY THEMSELVES are not going to do SQUAT!. They are hiring consultant firms and public Relation firms to let them know. My Question is, who the hell hires people unqualified to do their job. Who and why do we allow them to hire and spend tax dollars for someone else to do their job. It is kind of like Tom Brady telling Edelman, “We need a first down. I am going to pass the ball to you” and Edelman says okay and then sends a proxy in. If the officials in positions that hold great responsibility cannot make a decision, do not have forethought and problem solving skills, do not understand logistics, please get the hell out of dodge. No more friends, relatives and lovers. Put the savings of salaries benefits, pensions and perks into a special account and let the consultants that get called in do the job from the get go. I quote a famous and highly respected person. ” DO YOUR JOB”

  2. Frank Mahoney says:

    Governor shut down the state what the hell are you wailing for are you in sync with the person in the white house who is wrong

  3. krymarh says:

    Audubon Parks let us so far survive the first week of our son with autism being home. His program is closed, no horseback riding, no skiing, no swimming, no movies, no museums. and of course we are afraid to take him to stores as he has tendency to fix all the items out of place. 30 minute long walks in his favorite parks save his and our sanity. Not sure where to go tomorrow for a walk.

  4. Frank DeLorey says:

    Closing dog parks makes no sense!!! Dogs can’t catch it and people are playing touch football while their dogs run around….fear driven decisions…way to install calm and serenity in the people!!!

  5. mary martin says:

    south hadley, ma , closed parks and playgrounds .makes no sense at all. they were the only place we could bring the kids. swings are far apart and slide used one at a time. no crowds ever/ just myself and my two children. really ridiculous and detrimental to their health and well being !

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