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*Additional updates have been released since this news release. Please check https://www.parkboard.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?CID=1 for the latest information.
Springfield, MO — The Springfield-Greene County Park Board is postponing the seasonal reopening of restrooms, drinking fountains and interactive fountains to prevent spread of COVID-19.
Most parks restrooms and fountains are closed annually at the end of October, with their pipes drained to keep them from freezing. Restrooms and fountains are typically reopened in early April.
The Park Board is also closing several restrooms that have been open through the winter, as well as chemical (portable) toilets, starting this weekend.
Restrooms will remain open at four parks which are consistently the busiest destination parks in the system, including:
Restrooms at golf course pro shops will also remain open. Chemical toilets at golf courses will close.
The Park Board’s decision on restrooms and drinking fountains was based upon the need to clean and disinfect any open restroom at a minimum of every four hours to help prevent spread of COVID-19.
Interactive fountains at Jordan Valley Park, Founders Park and Springfield Botanical Gardens at Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park will remain closed while state and local emergency orders prohibit gatherings of 10 or more people.
Parks Director Bob Belote says the closures are in line with 79 percent of American parks and recreation agencies that have already closed restrooms due to COVID-19, according to an April 1-3 survey by the National Recreation and Park Association.
“This is the next step to insuring the public is safe while visiting our parks and trails,” said Belote. “We just don’t have the resources to keep up with the extraordinary restroom maintenance and disinfecting protocols necessary to prevent Coronavirus spread. So we’re erring on the side of health and closing everything but our very busiest park restrooms, which will be cleaned as a frequency of two to three times the norm. We want people to be able to safely enjoy our parks, but visitors need to be aware, you’ll need to bring your own water and plan for the restrooms and fountains to be closed. Pack it in, pack it out.”
The Park Board’s outdoor parks and trails remain open during the city and state stay-home order, a decision made in partnership with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Dickerson Park Zoo, all indoor facilities and all playgrounds are closed until further notice, and all programs and events are canceled through April 25. A complete list is at ParkBoard.org/Coronavirus.
Park visitors must follow local and state emergency orders in parks and CDC prevention guidelines: stay six feet away from anyone you meet, do not gather or play in groups, cover your cough or sneeze, and if you’re sick, please stay home. Park rangers and parks staff are monitoring parks to makes sure visitors follow these physical distancing guidelines.
“We really want to keep our parks and trails available for folks to enjoy, but we want to stress the need for everyone’s cooperation in following the rules to keep our parks safe,” said Belote. “This is particularly important with respect to the critical nature of physical distancing guidelines.”
For more information on what open and what’s closed, physical distancing guidelines and FAQs, visit ParkBoard.org/Coronavirus.
For media inquiries, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-224-5510 (mobile).