Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson trusts us. He really does, just not enough to leave the city's parks open on Easter weekend. At 9 p.m. Friday, all Dallas parks will go dark. They'll stay that way until 7 p.m. Monday. The city's trails will remain open for those who need a respite from their new lives indoors.
“I would have loved for our community to be able to celebrate Easter in our wonderful parks, and I regret that we have to make this decision,” Johnson said in announcing the closures. “But we cannot take the unnecessary risk of further crowding in our parks right now. We cannot afford to jeopardize the gains that I believe we are making in the fight against COVID-19 with the stay-at-home orders that we have in place."
Dallas has struggled to keep residents and park visitors at a safe physical distance since Johnson and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins enacted shelter-in-place orders last month. The city closed parking lots around White Rock Lake two weekends ago but hadn't closed any of its parks until Johnson made his decision yesterday.
Jenkins encouraged residents to celebrate Easter at home.
"(A)ll of the measures taken are temporary. We will get through this." — Eric Johnson
“Easter weekend tends to be one of the busiest days of the year in the park system, but the department is urging the community to stay home instead,” Jenkins said. “While we miss our parks being full of families playing together, we hope they will enjoy their egg hunts and Easter brunches from the safety of their own homes.”
Dallas Park and Recreation rangers, Dallas Police Department officers, Dallas marshals and code compliance officers will monitor the city's 397 parks to make sure they remain empty.
"I know it takes a mental toll every time we see the confirmed cases rising or we have to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries or even mourn through a video screen rather than in person with our loved ones," Johnson said Thursday on Twitter. "But all of the measures taken are temporary. We will get through this."