The Neabsco Creek boardwalk and all parking lots, playing fields, basketball and tennis courts at Prince William County parks are now closed to visitors indefinitely, officials announced Wednesday.
The move is aimed at further encouraging "social distancing" amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It follows earlier decisions to close the county’s indoor recreational facilities and to prohibit the use of about 50 county playgrounds.
The play structures were wrapped with yellow caution tape late last week in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Now, only the parks’ walking trails will remain accessible to the public. And because the parking lots are included in the closures, the intent is to limit access only to those who live within walking distance of the various parks, Brent Heavner, spokesman for the Prince William County Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, said Wednesday, March 25.
County officials made the decision after noticing an uptick in park visitors since public schools were shuttered Monday, also due to the coronavirus, Heavner said.
Visitors have included large groups playing basketball and soccer on park facilities despite new signs erected in the parks to stress the need for users to maintain social distancing, Heavner said.
The Neabsco Creek boardwalk and parking lot were closed for similar reasons. There were too many people using the boardwalk to ensure a separation of at least 6 feet between each visitor, Heavner said.
“It’s just not possible, with the volume of users, to maintain social distancing,” Heavner said.
It’s not clear when the county’s park facilities will reopen. The original announcement, issued Friday, March 13, said the closures would last until Tuesday, March 31.
But that was changed within hours. Now, there’s no definite timeline for reopening, Heavner.
Patrons who have already paid for recreational center passes or programs can be reimbursed or apply their fees to future programming.
Pass holders can opt to extend their passes beyond their expiration dates to make up for time lost due to the coronavirus closures, Heavner said.
The county has also shut down its registration website for programming, including registrations for summer camps.
Summer camps have not yet been canceled, however. At this time, it’s hoped that summer camps will still happen, but that will depend on the status of the coronavirus outbreak as the summer months approach, Heavner said.
Those with questions about parks and recreation programs or fees can call the park facilities associated with the various programs or can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, Heavner said.
For information about the county’s ongoing response to COVID-19, visit emergency.pwcgov.org.