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Oakland expands restrictions at city parks to avoid overcrowding

Bay Area

A man wears a mask while walking his dog in front of Lake Merritt in Oakland, Calif., Thursday, March 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The city of Oakland has expanded its restrictions at city parks to encourage physical distancing.

Vending in city parks and Lake Merritt will be suspended through May 31, officials say.

The city of Oakland is implementing the following measures at city parks, beginning Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May 31:

  • No vending — including food trucks — will be allowed in or near city parks
  • Parking lots at all city parks will remain closed
  • No parking near Lake Merritt will be permitted on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and the Memorial Day holiday

The city is still allowing walkers, joggers and cyclists to go outside for fresh air and exercise, as long as physical distancing is being implemented. Gatherings and crowds are discouraged in parks.

Visit Oakland Slow Streets for good options in neighborhoods throughout the city for exercise.

On Fridays and weekends, City Park Ambassador teams will patrol city parks and Lake Merritt wearing bright-colored shirts to remind park visitors about park rules and physical distancing. They will also provide face coverings and information about COVID-19 testing.

“Parks and outdoor spaces provide much-needed respite for Oaklanders year-round, especially while we are sheltering in place to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said. “But our parks have become overcrowded on weekends, and for our collective health, we need to give the lake — and our city parks — a break. We hope the presence of our new Park Ambassadors will help to remind, educate and engage the Oakland community around the Alameda County’s Sheriff-in-Place Order.”

The city of Oakland will be placing electronic signs around Lake Merritt displaying health and safety rules. Staff will also place signs and tape-off the playgrounds on Saturday morning to help support social distancing requirements.

The Oakland Police Department will monitor traffic around the Lake Merritt area and officers will walk around the area as well.

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