FORT WORTH, Texas - The city of Fort Worth will close all city parks to vehicle traffic this Sunday in an effort to prevent large holiday gatherings, like barbecues and Easter egg hunts.
Mayor Betsy Price said code enforcement will be on the lookout for violators in an effort to prevent a major outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus.
The closure to vehicle traffic does not mean people can’t visit parks, but the hope is people will choose to stay home.
“So you’ll need to walk in or ride a bike. The hope is that it will encourage people to stay more at home and if you come to the park to continue to keep appropriate social distancing, and we won’t have as big of crowds,” Price said.
Price discussed the closure in the council chamber with some staff present and council members participating remotely.
Public Health Director Vinny Taneja stressed once again that Tarrant County has not hit its peak yet.
But based on the quickly changing data, he says Texas will likely see that peak in mid-to-late April.
“Nobody’s got the crystal ball. And if everybody does not participate, things could change very rapidly,” he said. “Again, these are projections. But that’s our goal, and that’s our projected trend right now.”
Taneja and Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley are worried too many people are not taking the stay at home order as seriously as they should.
“There’s still a lot of folks out that I’m not sure they need to be out,” Whitley said.
RELATED: Coronavirus coverage
“You can still go out for a walk. You can run along the trails. You can do things as an individual or as a group socially distanced. But you can’t load up generations of family and go have an Easter egg hunt in the park. That is an unlawful thing to do under the declaration and an unwise thing to do given the deadliness of the virus we face,” said Brandon Bennett, Director of Code Enforcement.
Easter is typically the busiest day of the year for Fort Worth parks, officials said.
“It’s a difficult time, but we simply can’t have everybody congregating for Easter egg hunts,” Price said. “Do your Easter egg hunts at home.”
There is still an ongoing ban that remains in place prohibiting in-person worship services in Fort Worth.
The council also signed off on an extension of the city’s current disaster declaration, moving the new end date of the stay at home order to April 30. That matches Dallas County, Tarrant County and the executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.