The Saratoga Springs Recreation Department announced on its Instagram and Facebook pages on April 1 that all City of Saratoga Springs playgrounds and basketball courts would be closed until further notice, effective immediately.
The announcement comes one day after a press conference made by Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly and Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton, in which Commissioner Dalton announced that the Saratoga Springs Police Department would potentially be fining people not adhering to social distancing measures. During that press conference, Mayor Kelly addressed a question from a reporter about the safety of Saratoga’s parks. “The [state] park is getting more traffic than ever with this COVID-19 happening,” the mayor said. “But people aren’t understanding that they shouldn’t be playing touch football and they shouldn’t be playing basketball at the West Side Rec. We have to be able to keep people separated right now, but we do not want to close any parks, especially in the City of Saratoga Springs.” The mayor also said that as of this week, there is new signage in the Saratoga Spa State Park reminding people to stay six feet apart from one another.
City playgrounds are another matter altogether. In response to a question from a reporter at the March 31 press conference about if the city’s playgrounds were closed, Public Safety Commissioner Dalton said, “The city playgrounds are not closed at this time, but if you have kids who want to play on the playground, that is an individual responsibility. That’s up to you, but please be careful to sanitize before and after. That’s an individual choice. We can’t shut down the whole city and sanitize everything for everyone. So there’s a component of individual responsibility that we’re all asking people to take.”
The recreation department’s post also comes on the day New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the closure of playgrounds in New York City in a press conference. “I warned people that if they didn’t stop the density and the games in the playgrounds—you can’t play basketball, you can’t come in contact with each other—that we would close the playgrounds,” the governor said.
The evening after the post was made, Saratoga Living witnessed people playing basketball on the West Side Recreation courts, as well as a large group of students playing soccer on a field at Skidmore College.