Malvern parks stay open, mayor encourages virus guidelines

By: 
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

The outbreak of the COVID-19, coronavirus, continues to be a top priority and concern to people all across the nation. With the enhancement of cases increasing in Arkansas counties, City of Malvern Mayor Brenda J. Weldon encourages everyone to follow the social distancing guidelines and protocol procedures Ark. Governor Asa Hutchinson has enforced to Arkansans.

Due to Hutchinson implementing temporary changes to Arkansas State Parks’ operations to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis, all Malvern parks remain open to public, Weldon stated.

If anyone choose to go to any of the parks in Malvern, Weldon urges to everyone to following the guidelines of social distancing to stay six feet apart to help prevent the spread of the disease.

All parks will be monitored by the city of Malvern personnel. There are four parks in the city of Malvern—Malvern City Park, Ouachita River Whitewater Park, Bicentennial Park and Cherry Lane Park.

During this time of crisis, Weldon emphasized how important to everyone to maintain proper safety procedures of protection to follow for the health needs of the community.

Hutchinson has directed that Arkansas State Parks implement "day use" operations only, which became effective this morning at 8 a.m. It was a decision he made in an agreement with Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism Secretary Stacy Hurst, he said.

"Arkansas State Parks will remain operational. Arkansas is known for our outdoor recreation, and we want to allow Arkansans to safely enjoy what our state has to offer. These new safety measures will reduce the risk of overcrowding at our parks and discourage visitors from out-of-state until the threat of COVID-19 has passed," Hutchinson said.

"This Friday, we will move to ‘day use’ only across our state parks system, eliminating all overnight stay opportunities," Hurst said. "This is consistent with 28 other states, and we believe it will further reduce the number of out-of-state visitors. We are staying on top of the data and best practices and will adjust if further limitations are needed," she said.

Under the new "day use" directive, Arkansas State Parks will close overnight facilities, such as cabins and campgrounds.

In addition, Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage, and Tourism is temporarily implementing safety measures to prevent visitation surges in state parks. Arkansas State Parks will deploy park rangers to enforce social distancing, disperse gatherings of more than 10 people, and implement parking restrictions to limit overcrowding at popular parks.

Information on the park closings can be found at www.ArkansasStateParks.com/covid-19-update.

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