EL PASO, Texas -- The mayor unveiled plans Friday evening to begin reopening parks next week with libraries, museums and the El Paso Zoo to follow later in June and into July as the city eases up on coronavirus pandemic restrictions.
"We have determined that now is the time to start phasing and reopening some of our most important quality of life recreation areas," said Mayor Dee Margo late Friday, indicating that City Council would be briefed on further details of the proposal during Monday's upcoming meeting.
Margo said the phased reopening plan was borne out of knowing "that exercise and being outdoors is a key factor in maintaining good mental health during stressful times. We also appreciate the need to feed the mind with new reading material and learn new things about our history, art and wildlife."
While the city looks to start lifting restrictions it previously put in place due to public health concerns, Margo added "it is still imperative, however, that we continue practicing behaviors that are known to mitigate the spread of Covid-19."
Here's a look at the initial phase of the plan outlined by the mayor...
- Beginning Monday, June 8, all city parks will be opened to include skate parks and outdoor basketball/tennis courts.
- Due to ongoing health concerns regarding Covid-19, playgrounds and fitness equipment within parks will remain closed until further notice.
- Park visitors are asked to follow health and safety guidelines that include social distancing protocols, wearing a face covering and no gathering in groups of more than 10. City permits are also needed for organized functions, such as games and practices.
- Beginning Wednesday, July 1, city spray parks will be opened during the following limited hours of operations: Tuesdays through Sundays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
- There will be an extended cleaning break on open days to ensure proper hygiene and staff will conduct enhanced cleaning during closed days.
- Also beginning Wednesday, July 1, select regional recreation centers will be reopened Monday through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and on Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- The regional recreation centers to be opened are:
- Don Haskins (7400 High Ridge Dr.)
- Veterans (5301 Salem Dr.)
- Pat O’Rourke (901 N Virginia St.)
- Gary del Palacio (3001 Parkwood St.)
- Pavo Real (9301 Alameda Ave.)
- Marty Robbins (11620 Vista Del Sol Dr.)
- Officer David Ortiz (563 N Carolina Dr.)
- The public will be required to wear face coverings except when participating in sports and aerobic activity. Select classes will be offered at reduced attendance capacity.
- City pools and senior centers remain closed to the public. However, the City has formed a cross-functional team that has created a plan of action to reopen during future phases.
- Beginning Monday, June 29, three libraries will be available for curbside check-out services on a limited basis:
- Dorris Van Doren (551 Redd Rd.) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesdays and Fridays
- Esperanza Acosta Moreno (12480 Pebble Hills Blvd.) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursdays
- Richard Burges (9600 Dyer St.) 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Mondays and Thursdays
- Materials will need to be checked out online and picked up by appointment to ensure safety for staff and the public. Face coverings will be required for library patrons engaged in library activities. For more information, visit www.elpasolibrary.org.
- Beginning, Thursday, July 2, the City will reopen the El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of History during the following limited hours of operations: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday
- Attendance will be monitored to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed and all visitors will be required to wear face coverings.
- Classes, camps, lectures and artist demonstrations will be offered virtually until further notice.
- The Digital Wall at Museum of History will remain closed until further notice, but will continue to be accessible via online at: digie.org.