Kern Public Health announced that all park facilities, like restrooms, playgrounds, and sports equipment, will be closed this weekend to discourage Easter crowds.
“This weekend is popular for outings and gatherings in parks, places like Hart Park,” said Kern Chief Administrative Officer, Ryan Alsop.
Public Health said the move was made to comply with state and federal orders to stop gatherings and avoid COVID-19 transmission.
“We want to encourage people to go out and take a walk, ride your bike, walk your dog, enjoy the outdoors, but please do not plan to pay it in any large gatherings,” Alsop said.
The county says cautionary signs will be put up and rangers will patrol.
“We’re trying to avoid making arrests—we don’t want to do that, but they are authorized already through our declaration of a public health emergency,” Alsop said.
But they hope this will be more about educating than enforcing.
“My concern is that we have not seen the worst of COVID-19 in Kern County and reminding our community that park facilities and amenities are closed and that gatherings within our parks should be discouraged is a necessary measure to reduce the number of people that could be exposed to COVID-19,” said Public Health director, Matt Constantine.
While parks will technically remain open, the department said there are safer ways to celebrate Easter this year, including video conferences, online church services, and virtual trips to national parks.