In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the village of Oak Park has closed all Park District of Oak Park public-use playgrounds, fields and sports courts, as announced March 25. The order includes basketball, pickleball, tennis and volleyball courts. 

Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley issued the order to supplement Governor J.B. Pritzker’s statewide “stay-at-home” order, issued March 20 and extending through April 7.

Charley’s order also prohibits all organized sports games and competitions during this time, stating, “organized sport games or competition, such as baseball, softball, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, tag, football or similar activities, between persons at public parks or outdoor recreation areas are prohibited in order to protect the public from the spread of COVID-19 disease because such activities could entail or promote non-compliance with the social distancing requirements set forth in Governor Pritzker’s Order.”

The order does not include dog parks. However, it mandates that people who use dog parks must comply with social distancing requirements laid down by Pritzker, including maintaining a distance of at least six feet between individuals 

Although the village and park district are separate taxing entities, the village consulted with the district prior to issuing the order, according to Diane Stanke, marketing direct for the park district. 

“The Village Public Health Department has the responsibility to do this, with our blessing, for the health and safety of our residents,” Stanke told Wednesday Journal. “We are all in agreement on this measure.”

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