City of Berkeley closes recreational facilities, programs to limit COVID-19 spread

City of Berkeley closes recreational facilities, programs to limit COVID-19 spread

Zainab Ali/File

Berkeley city manager Dee Williams-Ridley announced Sunday evening that she is temporarily closing all city recreation programs, recreation centers, pools and clubhouses to limit the spread of COVID-19, colloquially known as the coronavirus.

These closures will be starting March 16 and city parks will remain open, according to Williams-Ridley’s press release, which also says the city will refund payments for any canceled programs or facility rentals.

Upcoming citywide recreation division special events in April will also be canceled; these events include the Shoreline Cleanup, Flashlight Egg Hunt, Spring Egg Hunt, Berkeley Bay Festival and the 2020 Census event. Berkeley public libraries will also be closed starting March 16.

“This coronavirus is so new that there are no approved medicines nor vaccines, meaning that non-pharmaceutical interventions such as these are essential to limiting how many are infected,” Williams-Ridley said in the press release.

The press release further encouraged the recommendation of limiting gatherings to 250 people or fewer and to 10 people or fewer for those more susceptible to COVID-19, such as people over the ages of 60 or those with chronic conditions.

Within Berkeley Unified School District, schools are closed until April 6, and students from closed schools were recommended to remain at home for “as much as possible.”

Berkeley currently has three lab-confirmed cases, according to Williams-Ridley in the press release. Each case had known exposures not acquired within the community and is also isolated.

City officials are looking into how the city can temporarily use these closed facilities to support nurses, paramedics, police officers and outreach workers.

“As City Manager, I am marshalling all of our available resources to limit the impact of COVID-19 in Berkeley,” Williams-Ridley said in the press release.

Thao Nguyen is a deputy news editor. Contact her at and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.

The Daily Californian

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