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FORT SMITH -- Access has been restricted to all Sebastian County playground equipment in the wake of recommendations from Gov. Asa Hutchinson and from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Restrictions include Ben Geren, Bob Boyer, East Sebastian County and Buckner parks, according to a news release from Sebastian County's County Judge David Hudson. Signs will be posted at all affected locations. Park visitors are asked to adhere to all closure notices and social-distancing recommendations. The focus is closing access to hard-surface playground equipment. Park open spaces are still available to the public.

Sebastian County's almost 30 miles of paved and multiuse trails, as well as additional hiking trails, are also still open, albeit with "strict social distancing." Those choosing to go for a walk or exercise outside, the release states, are asked to maintain a distance of 6 feet from others who are not a part of their household.

Open but with social distancing is also the case for Ben Geren Golf Course and Gator Golf. The current golf cart policy has been changed to allow golfers to ride alone in the carts. Carts will continue to be rented to golfers who need them. All of the carts will be sanitized between users. The golf clubhouse and frequently touched areas of Gator Golf are being sanitized several times a day, as well.

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In addition to bunker rakes being removed, foam inserts have been placed in the cups for easy golf ball removal so that golfers do not have to touch the flagstick. Ball washers are being sanitized, with Gator Golf putters getting a similar treatment after each use. Golfers are asked to practice good hygiene by carrying hand sanitizer, and are instructed to limit their groups to 10 people or less while on or off the course.

"All public and private gatherings of more than 10 people are banned per CDC recommendations and the directive from the governor's office," the release states. "If you see large groups gathering in parks, please contact the department of parks [at] (479) 646-2444 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday."

State Desk on 03/26/2020

Print Headline: County restricts use of parks equipment

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