Want to enjoy Milwaukee County Parks playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, outdoor fitness equipment stations, dog exercise areas, and disc golf courses again? Well, now you can—at your own risk.

Milwaukee County Parks Deputy Director Jen Francis announced the immediate reopenenings during a media briefing Friday morning. She also stressed the continued importance of sanitizing and social distancing.

“These amenities will function on a use-at-your-own-risk basis,” Francis said. “To be clear, you should practice physical distancing of at least six feet, use hand sanitizer, and use caution when coming into contact with shared surfaces. The county is not cleaning or disinfecting these shared surfaces in these use-at-your-own-risk areas at this time. So in general, anyone using a park facility should bring their own hand sanitizer and use it after coming into contact with shared surfaces.”

There will be new signs at Milwaukee County parks indicating their use-at-your-own-risk status. The signs will also remind park users to wear masks and practice physical distancing.

Restrooms at most parks will remain closed.

Francis noted that all Milwaukee County swimming pools and water parks—indoors and outdoors—will remain closed for the 2020 season as well. The affected locations include Cool Waters Aquatic Park in Greenfield Park, Schulz Aquatic Center in Lincoln Park, Pelican Cove in Kosciuszko Park, Noyes Indoor Pool, Pulaski Indoor Pool, and outdoor pools at Washington Park, McCarty Park, Jackson Park, Sheridan Park, Holler Park, Hales Corners Park, Wilson Park and Grobschmidt Pool.

The non-profit-operated Hoyt Park Pool still plans to open this summer. A “good portion” of wading pools and splash pads may open this summer, too.

Oh, and you can park along Lincoln Memorial Drive again. Woo!

“We want you to have fun in the parks, but safely,” Francis said. “The virus isn’t gone yet so please use your best judgment when leaving the house. Remember to respect your fellow park users and maintain good physical distancing practices, a minimum of six feet apart, more if you’re jogging or biking on a trail.

“We strongly recommend that you wear a face mask,” she continued. “Your safe behavior now will ensure that the parks remain open for all of us in the future. Being in parks right now is all about moving through them—stationary and clustering activities do not support physical distancing, so whether you’re on an active street at the beach or on a trail, or just having fun at the park, we encourage you to keep moving and be aware of your physical proximity to others.”

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