Williamsport mayor orders parks closed

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Schools are closed, businesses are shut down and for the most part, everyone is doing their part to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

In Lycoming County, the mayor of Williamsport is also taking proactive measures to help keep everyone safe. It doesn’t look like anyone will be playing basketball on the courts anytime soon. Mayor Derek Slaughter ordered streets and parks employees to remove the rims on basketball courts and to tape off playground equipment in city parks.

“It’s just to continue recommendations and proactive measures from the suggestions from the local, state, federal that to continue the social distancing, not to gather in large groups to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Slaughter said.

Tennis courts are also taped off and owners of private parks like Firetree Place have put up signs. Slaughter says it’s for the best interest of the community.

“Especially with the weather getting nice out, our office has been getting calls of groups and kids and things still out playing in the parks and playing on the equipment and playing basketball, etc. and so we just have to take these proactive measures,” Slaughter said.

Eyewitness News reached out to community members on social media to see if they agree. Janice Frank said “It’s good to keep children from touching items that could contain germs.”

“I think what he’s doing right now is necessary if people aren’t going to do it on a voluntary basis themselves. I think it’s important for the mayor to take them down because people clearly aren’t staying six feet apart from each other,” Sofia Sarubbi of Williamsport said.

Others said it’s “dramatic.” However Slaughter says keep in mind this is only temporary.

“It’s definitely going back up. The rims will 100 percent be going back up. Playground equipment will be open,” Slaughter said.

And in the meantime, the mayor encourages everyone to get some fresh air by taking a hike or going for a walk while maintaining your social distancing.

“I think the faster that everybody does their part, we’ll all get through this,” Sarubbi said.

Slaughter also put out a proclamation banning groups of 50 or more people from gathering in city parks or city streets through the month of April.

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