Williamson County Parks & Recreation officials, because of COVID-19, have padlocked all outdoor softball fields to keep people off the premises.
But those same county officials allow access to their indoor recreation centers, where people can, among other things, play tennis and basketball.
Spring Hill parent Lori Wigginton said she doesn’t understand the disparity.
“It’s safer outdoors [during COVID-19],” Wigginton told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.
“They can’t arbitrarily lock fields that are considered public property that we pay taxes for, and that’s my whole premise for this. We fund it.”
Wigginton said county officials padlocked the outdoor softball fields two weeks ago. She also said she has reached out to Gov. Bill Lee, among several other public officials at the state and county levels.
Williamson County Parks & Recreation Director W. Gordon Hampton told The Star in an email Tuesday that he and other county officials restricted access to the softball fields to abide by Lee’s Tennessee Pledge. According to the governor’s website, Lee and several representatives from the public and private sectors crafted the Pledge to help state residents return to a safe environment, restore their livelihoods and reboot Tennessee’s economy.
“Governor Lee’s Tennessee Pledge guidance for reopening of some recreational activities continues to state that adult and youth team sports and leagues should remain closed, and that social distancing should continue,” Hampton said.
“While we attempted to open fields when the Governor’s stay at home order was initially lifted, we found that patrons were not willing to comply with these expectations.”
Hampton said that anyone who operates a pool, park, basketball court, baseball field or playground should close such areas “if the circumstances and operation of that particular venue would lead to persons gathering in groups of 10 or more.” This is also true if separate groups of fewer than 10 are in close proximity to other groups of less than 10.
“Based upon this guidance and our experience when we attempted to open the ball fields, we are continuing to keep them closed until we can offer them consistent with state guidance and the safety and health of our patrons,” Hampton said.
But why do county officials keep the indoor recreation centers open?
“Only some activities in our indoor recreation centers have opened, all consistent with the TN Pledge Guidance,” Hampton said.
“In our indoor centers we are better able to manage social distancing, limitations on groups and hygiene protocols than is possible at outdoor field scattered across the County.”
Hampton said he and other officials will reopen the fields as soon as they “can do so safely.”
– – –