May 15, 2020
One Pennsylvania parks advocacy group issued a guidance Tuesday to reopening parks that follows the color-coded model to reopen the state set forth by Gov. Tom Wolf last month.
The Pennsylvania Parks and Recreation Society issued a model with stages of reopening divided into red, yellow, and green phases. Guidelines have been offered by the group clarify Wolf's reopening rules for park owners and stewards.
The PPRS is a professional association advocating for volunteers and workers in the state's parks and recreation sectors. Nearly 2,000 people statewide are members of the nonprofit.
"PRPS offers this advice to assist park owners and stewards to comply with guidance from the PA Dept. of Health and Governor Wolf’s Process to Reopen Pennsylvania, especially where specific recreation and park directives remain undefined," the group wrote. "Certain of these recommendations may differ with local regulations or future definitive state guidance when issued; and PRPS defers to those authorities."
Wolf's reopening plan is a color-coded, step-by-step plan for Pennsylvania to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, region by region, as the number of people infected with the coronavirus declines. As regions progress through the red, yellow, and green phases of reopening, coronavirus lockdown measures are slowly lifted with each step.
All counties were in the red phase on April 22 when Wolf unveiled his plan. But now, some counties in Western Pennsylvania have entered the yellow phase since that time, allowing for more business activity to take place there.
Restrictions on recreational activity began to be lifted statewide on May 1, following an order from Wolf that reopened all golf courses, marinas, and privately-owned campgrounds across the state. At state parks, the majority of day-use facilities reopened on Thursday but overnight use facilities, like family campsites, will will remain closed through May 21. State owned cabins, lodges, cottages, and yurts will remain closed through June 11.
And all events and public educational programs at Pennsylvania State Parks are canceled through June 15.
PPRS used the information in the Wolf administration's Process to Reopen Pennsylvania plan and highlighted the portions that pertain to park and recreation facilities.
The society’s at-a-glance list is separated into four categories: water-based recreation, outdoor recreation, indoor recreation, and community events. To the facilities in each category, PPRS applies Wolf’s color-coded process for reopening, detailing what each step means for each facility.
For the red phase, most locations like beaches, playgrounds, and gyms, are closed. In the yellow phase, a little less than half of these recreation locations are open, with strict social distancing measures enforced. In the green phase, all locations are open but usually limit gatherings to less than 25 people.
For example, the PPRS chart details that community gardens in regions in the red phase the gardens should remain closed. In the yellow phase, these gardens can open with social distancing guidelines like assigning 2-hour work windows for gardeners, requiring people wear personal protective equipment, and prohibiting tool-sharing. In the green phase, community gardens could open fully with appropriate social distancing guidelines.
Guidelines revised by the PPRS Tuesday modify a prior guidance issued by the group earlier, on April 29. PRPS wrote that their list should not be referred to as the official guidance in all instances.