With temperatures rising and the sun finally making its long-awaited debut in Memphis, many people are flooding city parks despite health officials cautioning the public to practice social distancing.
A stay-at-home order went into effect Tuesday in Memphis, closing all recreational facilities, gyms, and other businesses around town.
However, based on the executive ordered issued by Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, city parks are considered essential and thus remain open to the public.
But, with few places to go around the city, the parks have quickly become hot spots of activity.
Many people took to social media to express their concern over the masses of people gathered in the parks and the apparent lack of social distancing.
Ok. What’s the magic number? Because I hear the whole damn county was @ Shelby Farms today... https://t.co/OXYXSLsr5f— Tami Sawyer Says Stay Home! 🟩 (@tamisawyer) March 27, 2020
i went to Shelby Farms today and people straight up tried to come up to me to pet my dogs. naw.— Corndawg Cowgirl (@cheyenneloring) March 26, 2020
@MayorMemphis @LeeHarrisfor901 @geoff_calkins @dailymemphian how is the safer at home order ever going to work when Shelby Farms is packed on a Thursday???? This is not fair to the people trying to do the right thing. Medical staff deserve better pic.twitter.com/rryH3fA84y— Mike Swearingen (@Swearingen20) March 26, 2020
Shelby Farms is on 10! I’ve never seen this many ppl out!— A Gem(ini)💎 (@UrWorstDestiny) March 26, 2020
Just drove by Tom Lee on my way to work. Too many people out there. The density wasn’t the worst I’ve seen but it wasn’t great.— Leftdescending 💎 (@Leftdescending) March 26, 2020
Just drove by Tom Lee Park and it looks Memphis in May is going on! @MayorMemphis I thought we were supposed to be staying in our homes? You gotta to something!!#closetomleepark #coronavirus#Memphis #SaferAtHome#CoronavirusPandemic— Marty Brooks (@MartyRadio) March 26, 2020
There were at least 300 people at Tom Lee Park about an hour ago if anybody wants to get Corona— Taylor Greenburg (@TaylorGreenburg) March 26, 2020
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Friday afternoon that city parks remain open, “but if we continue to see what we saw yesterday at Tom Lee Park, we will have to close parks.”
But, the mayor said that the city is closing city baseball and softball fields, dog parks, skate parks, and basketball courts effective immediately.
“I cannot not tell you how important social distancing is,” Strickland said.
Meanwhile, parks have issued their own set of guidelines in an attempt to keep visitors safe.
If you visit a park, keep six feet apart!— Memphis River Parks Partnership (@MemRiverParks) March 25, 2020
In the "safer-at-home" order, you can go outside for a walk to bike ride, but should keep six feet distance between you and others. Let's keep Memphis healthy, together. pic.twitter.com/qsEVSfT0n8
🌳We're working hard to keep the Park open for you, but we need your help when you visit. If you're heading to the Park for some ☀️, remember to keep your distance--at least 6ft between yourself and other visitors.— Shelby Farms Park (@ShelbyFarmsPark) March 27, 2020