Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said Monday afternoon that the city will be limiting access to public parks beginning Tuesday morning.
This comes as hundreds of people have been flocking to city parks as the temperatures rise in the city. Last week, many noticed the large crowds of park-goers and took to social media to express concern.
Friday, Strickland ordered the closing of all city soccer and baseball fields, basketball courts, as well as dog and skate parks.
Now, Strickland is moving to limit the number of people in parks, by restricting the number of cars allowed in parks. To aid this effort, Riverside Drive and “as many roads in and around parks that the fire marshal will let me" will close.
The mayor also reiterated that “no groups of people will be allowed to congregate in our parks.”
“Over the past several days, especially as we’ve had nicer weather, more people have been getting outside,” Strickland said. “That alone is not a bad thing. In fact, doctors even recommend it in these times. That said, it does become a huge problem when people disregard the importance of social distancing. ... Unfortunately, some people are not taking this seriously. And for the health of our city, they must start now. What happened this weekend at a couple of parks in the city is reckless, irresponsible, and selfish.”
To help enforce the new restrictions, Strickland said there will be city employees at parks throughout the city monitoring crowds.
“These new restrictions are designed to allow people to walk or run through their neighborhood park, but to prohibit people from congregating in large groups,” the mayor said.