Summer is a time for get-togethers. Reunions or birthday parties in a county park are not unusual. Except for this summer.
You cannot rent a pavilion for your gathering. The county is not renting any for the rest of the season.
The Health and Parks departments decided that due to the continued health concerns of COVID-19 within Kenosha County, no large gatherings in county parks are recommended. Anyone who had reservations for a date has had their deposit refunded.
Matthew Collins, director of county parks, said they have tried to minimize any large groups. They have removed picnic tables from pavilions and spread them around the parks.
He said nearly everyone contacted has been respectful of the decision.
“Sometimes there can be as many as a thousand people at a gathering,” Collins said. “We can’t manage it. We can’t sanitize everything in such a large space.”
Some might counter that the Biergarten in Petrifying Springs Park is open and has space for quite a number of people.
“The difference is that the Biergarten has been in direct communication with the Health Department and is strictly following CDC guidelines,” Collins said.
A person cannot enter the Biergarten if there is no place for them. Someone stops everyone to see if there is space before anyone enters.
Sheriff deputies patrol the county parks and police monitor city parks. A spokesman said they are not telling deputies to stop and talk to any large groups in parks, and the mayor’s office said the city is not issuing any permits.
Police Sgt. Leo Viola said officers had not seen large groups in parks, but if a group was doing something in the park for which it needed a permit, they would then check.
Summer goes on. Small backyard family gatherings are what’s left.
For health reasons, it is highly discouraged to meet in large groups. Cases of the virus continue to rise and the city and county are trying to limit the spread.
Everyone else should do the same.
Catch the latest in Opinion
Get opinion pieces, letters and editorials sent directly to your inbox weekly!