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Concerned About Crowds, Dallas To Shut Down Parks For Easter Weekend

MaryAnne Campbell
Visitors enjoy the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas.

Parks are usually packed during Easter weekend as visitors hunt for eggs and gather with family for barbecues — but not this weekend.

Officials in Dallas will shut down parks starting at 9 p.m. on Friday and reopen them on Monday morning. The city's concerned that packed parks could make it easier for the coronavirus to spread.

“People are trying to find a place to go to get some exercise and some fresh air, and we figured that we'd see considerably more people in our parks this weekend,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson at a press conference.

Digital message boards at the parks will warn people about the closures. Officials — including park rangers, police and code enforcement workers — will monitor the parks.

Trails remain open, though officials say people should follow social distancing guidelines.

In Fort Worth, officials are closing Sunday vehicle access to many parks. Mayor Betsy Price said people can still visit, but reminds visitors to practice social distancing.

“You'll have to walk or ride your bikes to use [the parks],” she said. “It's a difficult time, but we simply can't have everybody congregating for Easter egg hunts." 

Fort Worth police and code enforcement officers may issue citations to those who are gathering and not following social distancing guidelines. 

Dallas and Fort Worth aren’t alone in restricting park use or park access. Across Texas, historic sites are closed and state parks will be closed indefinitely.

Galilee Abdullah is an arts reporter.