Late-winter air

The Keene Skate Park on Gilbo Avenue reopens today, after being closed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. In this file photo, Jacob Macek of Keene works a trick.

Keene has closed its playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities until further notice, to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the city announced Monday.

The closure affects the following parks:

The Wheelock Park ball fields, tennis courts, hockey rink, playgrounds, horseshoe courts and volleyball court

Robin Hood Park’s tennis courts and playground

The Fuller Park playground

The Ellis Harrison Park playground and tennis courts

The Water Street basketball courts

Patricia T. Russell Park’s swings and play field

Jonathan Daniels School’s pickleball courts

The Wood Street playground and ball field

The Sesame Street playground

The Gilbo Avenue skate park

The American Legion ball fields

Open spaces and trails at those and other Keene properties remain open to the public “as places to explore with proper social distancing,” the city said in its announcement.

The city decided to close those facilities partly as a precaution, and partly in response to learning that some visitors were not observing the social-distancing recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to Andrew Bohannon, the city’s parks, recreation and facilities director.

The CDC recommends that people stay at least 6 feet from one another, including when outside.

“This was a difficult decision for us as we know people want to be outside,” Bohannon wrote in an email. “[L]ast week we cleaned all the playgrounds, and our response had to be for the general safety of our community.”

He noted that people can still walk, hike and cycle through the city’s parks, so long as they observe social-distancing practices.

News about the city’s response to the pandemic, and other information about the coronavirus, can be found at notifykeene.com.

Paul Cuno-Booth can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1409, or pbooth@keenesentinel.com.

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