Parks & recreation with COVID restrictions

Bennett Beach in Town of Evans to open
Posted at 7:19 PM, Jun 17, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — If you’ve been waiting to go to the beach or take the kids to a playground, Erie County is carefully reopening during the pandemic.

With phase three in full swing in Western New York, the Erie County Parks commissioner says if you're a golfer, club houses and restrooms will reopen this Friday at county golf courses.

Erie County Parks commissioner Troy Schnizel says Bennett Beach will open Friday.

Bennett Beach will also open Friday in the Town of Evans and swimming will be allowed.

“Bennett Beach opens this Friday — we’re excited. That brings a certainly another layer of normality back to our Erie County Parks,” declared Troy Schnizel, commissioner, Erie County Parks.

If you head to a park, county officials says there will be plenty of rules you must follow. Beach blankets must be ten feet apart on Bennett Beach. The county will be implementing the 50-percent capacity rule. That means only 450 will be allowed at the beach at the same time.

Parks commissioner Schnizel said parks the will make sure the state guidelines are followed on the beach.

“We have our park rangers scheduled to be at the beach this weekend. we have Evans PD and Erie County Sheriff’s to be at the beach,” Schnizel stated.

The commissioner they will be working to educate public.

“We know what works. We know what we are supposed to be doing now it's a matter of doing that, so we're just asking for compliance — whether you’re just playing golf or at the dog park, if there's overcrowding move somewhere else,” Schnizel explained.

Another important announcement regards youth sports. Erie County Health Commissioner, Dr. Gale Burstein, said it will not begin until July 6th. That is for playing and for practicing.

Burstein said they’ve received some calls that teams are already practicing against the COVID guidelines.

Dr. Gale Burstein, Erie County Health Commissioner.

“We just want to remind locals that schools and municipal fields could be in violation of their insurance if they allow teams to practice in violation of the Governor’s order,” Burstein stated.

As for playgrounds, most playgrounds at county parks will not open until next week. The county is working on installing swings. It’s also important to note, playground and exercise equipment at the parks is not sanitized.

“We highly recommend the use of hand sanitizer when using equipment before, during and after,” Schnizel noted.

Park trials remain open, but you are reminded to keep a safe distance and wear face masks and also to wear proper shoes because some of the trails are rough.

Shelters and building rentals remain on hold and the county is waiting for guidance on phase four. For now, those are canceled until July 10th.

The county also reminding everyone that boat launches, kayak launches and dog parks are open.