City of Lakeland athletic fields and neighborhood parks will reopen June 8 and playgrounds will reopen June 15, the city announced today.

Basketball courts and shuffleboard courts are included in the opening of athletic fields, the city said in a news release.

Organized leagues that use city facilities will be required to follow CDC guidelines for coronavirus safety, set up hand-washing stations, sign hold-harmless agreements and get waivers for adults and children who participate. For information, call 863-834-2233 or email [email protected].

Also opening on June 8 are picnic pavilions and restrooms. Restrooms will be disinfected every two hours during operating hours, the city said. People using these facilities and playgrounds when they open the following week are urged to use safe hygiene and disinfect surfaces.

In reopening the facilities, the city cited Gov. Ron DeSantis' May 22 Executive Order 20-131 allowing organized youth activities and summer camps.

City commissioners initially voted to close most city parks on March 23 in efforts to retard the spread of the novel coronavirus. After wavering in the following week, the commission solidified the closures April 1 after DeSantis issued a “safer-at-home” order.

A gradual reopening of parks started May 1 with “passive” parks where social distancing could be maintained. Those included walking trails, lake shores, tennis courts, boat ramps, Munn Park and the Cleveland Heights Golf Course.

City pools and the skatepark reopened Monday.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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