Here We Go!
In the current world, where everything seems to change at a rapid pace while we're simultaneously stuck in a strange waiting room of sorts, it's nearly impossible to guess what comes next.
Depending on where you are located, your community might be reopened to a greater or lesser degree. Around here, some things (most trails, for example) never closed, while others (most playgrounds) still haven't opened. Different states have taken different approaches, and are seeing different results in their fight against COVID-19.
Generally speaking, a lot has already reopened around the country. The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) recently took a survey of its members and found that the vast majority of golf courses, tennis courts, dog parks and beaches are open. Senior centers, drinking fountains and indoor gyms, on the other hand, largely remain closed. (NRPA's "Park Snapshot Surveys" are a great resource, and can be found on the association's home page, at NRPA.org.)
Associations like the NRPA, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the newly formed Aquatics Coalition, the Y, the American Camp Association (ACA), and the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) have put together guidance to help their members decide how to go about resuming operations and programming without putting their members or the general public at risk.
It seems most likely that we'll continue to see waves of increasing numbers of infection, and different localities will have different reactions, from closing all of the places where people tend to congregate, to taking a more hands-off approach and letting people choose their own degree of risk.
It is certain that the pandemic hasn't finished with us yet. But it also is certain that the social distancing measures adopted to reduce the spread cannot continue indefinitely.
And so, here we stand. Life is creaking back to… not normal, for sure, but something closer to normal than where we've been. And as always, we won't have a clear picture of the impact of our actions until later… probably much later. And hindsight, as we all know, is 20/20.
But it certainly seems clear that there are things we can do—individually and as professionals in the field—to ensure that the places where we go for work and play do not become epicenters of spreading disease. We wear masks to protect one another, in case we're sick and don't know it yet. We stay home when we're sick. We don't get too close to the people outside of our immediate group of family and friends. We keep facilities as clean as can be, and try to provide guidance to visitors.
As you prepare your facility to reopen, and as you navigate the rough waters ahead, be sure to look to the associations that guide your segment of the industry for ideas and updates on how best to keep everyone, including yourself!, safe.
We're all in this together.
Be safe out there!
And be well,