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Kern County Parks Still Open, But Local Officials Say 'Stay Home' Easter Weekend

City of Bakersfield Recreation & Parks Facebook
Coral Keys is one Bakersfield's 59 parks. While parks are still technically open, local officials are urging families to stay home, especially on Easter weekend.

Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties have closed their parks to keep people home during the coronavirus pandemic. But Kern County parks are still technically open and with Easter coming up, some residents are worried.

A release from the Kern County Public Health Department states that park facilities and amenities, like bathrooms, are closed, but you can still get in.

“We don’t have a way to close off, let’s say, a parking lot at a gate, they’re wide open” says Dianne Hover. She’s the director of the city of Bakersfield’s Parks and Recreation Department.

Kern County’s Public Health Department discourages people from going to the parks but Tehachapi resident Wendy Swope says that won’t keep people home on Easter.

“That event typically will draw a couple thousand people easily,” says Swope. For many Valley parks, it’s one of the busiest weekends of the year. “We’re gonna see people flocking in from other counties who don’t have access to their own parks because their county shut their park down,” Swope predicts.

While there’s caution tape around playgrounds, Hoover says there are not enough fences to block off every park. They are open to walk through, but there are no basketball, volleyball, or soccer nets up. Hoover isn't certain how long these amenities will be gone, because the situation is changing day to day. The department is posting updates to its Facebook page.

In the meantime, Hoover is pleading with people: “Stay home, stay home, just stay home, walk around your neighborhood.”

It may mean disrupting tradition, but Hoover says celebrating at home will mean 2020 will be the Easter to remember. 

Laura Tsutsui was a reporter and producer for Valley Public Radio. She joined the station in 2017 as a news intern, and later worked as a production assistant and weekend host. Laura covered local issues ranging from politics to housing, and produced the weekly news program Valley Edition. She left the station in November 2020.
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