MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) As Mississippi slowly begins to reopen under Governor Tate Reeves safer at home order, public recreation offerings will begin to reopen as well.
Meridian's parks and recreation director Trent Posey explained that the reopenings will occur in phases, with phase 1 already happening with the reopening of parks and walking trails.
Phase 2 has now began with the reopening of athletic fields such as baseball and soccer fields. While athletic fields are now open for youth sports leagues to use, Posey shared there are still certain restrictions in place.
"Most athletic fields are open such as basbeall and soccer but we are limiting it to practice only," Posey said."Coaches have a strict set of guidelines to be able to do this."
Some of those guidelines include the following:
- Coaches must supply hand sanitizer at all practices
- Kids must only use their personal equipment (no sharing)
- Parents attending practices must social distance by 10 feet
- Bleachers are not to be used by anyone
While Posey emphasized the city does want to ensure safety, they also want to help people phase back into a normal way of living.
"We want to allow people to get back out and explore some normalcy again," Posey said. "There's never going to be the perfect time to do that but by taking three, four different phases into this we're kind of easing our way back into it to make sure things don't get out of hand."
Posey emphasized that only youth league practices may resume right now and that games will not be permitted during phase 2.
"We're not at that point yet. Until we can see some numbers change and get guidance from the governor we are not going to allow any type of leagues to form at this time," Posey said. "There will be absolutely no games right now."
Posey said that while baseball fields and soccer fields have been opened back up due to their natural ability to keep people spaced out, basketball courts and playgrounds will still remain closed under phase 2.
"In the next phase, if all goes well and the numbers get better, what we will do is open up basketball courts and playgrounds," Posey said. "Nobody wants to get out and see kids be active more than we do. We want them out there playing but we've also got to be smart about it."