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.”