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City of Helena releases preliminary guidance for re-opening Parks & Recreation

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Posted at 8:09 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 22:09:20-04

HELENA — Based on the State of Montana’s “Reopening the Big Sky” phased approach, as well as County and City guidance, the City of Helena Parks Department is providing the following guidelines and information for summer operations in response to COVID-19.

Please note that these are preliminary guidelines for the City of Helena Parks Department; refinements and adjustments will be made based on activities and evolving guidance.

There has been no date set for the beginning of Phase 2.

Up-to-date guidance can be found within the Section titled “Guidance for Specific Groups” on the Lewis and Clark Public Health COVID-19 web page here

General information for all Parks Dept. operations:
Social distancing must continue; masks will be worn by staff through phase one, or until further notice. Meetings will continue to be held online. Advisory boards will not be meeting until the declaration of emergency is lifted by the Mayor or the Commission amends the resolution.

Parks Administrative Office:
Phase 1: The Parks Dept. office will remain closed to the public, continuing to offer email, telephone, online assistance.

Phase 1/2: The Parks Department will be consistent with the re-opening of the City/County building services. When the Parks office re-opens to the public, staff prioritize social distancing and serve one patron at a time at the front desk.

Urban Parks:
Phase 1: Parks remain open and playgrounds remain closed. Signage reminding park users of social distancing and sanitation requirements will remain.

Phase 2: The Parks Dept. will defer to the latest guidance, and playgrounds could open with social distancing continuing as a priority.

Walking Mall Permitting/Food Trucks:
Phase 1/2: On May 4, the Parks Dept. will begin permitting food trucks in parks and on the walking mall. Food trucks must follow social distancing and State and local guidelines.

General Parks Event Permitting:
Phase 1: Per State guidelines, the Parks Dept. will not permit large groups or special events. It is not possible for most special events to congregate less than 10 people.

Phase 2: The Parks Dept. will defer to the latest guidance, but Parks could, per State and local guidelines, permit groups of more than 50 people in circumstances that readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. Event coordinators will need to manage their events according to state and local guidelines and limit size of groups and enforce social distancing. Events will likely have to limit the amount of people in attendance based on the size of the park location.

General Recreation Parks/Field Use permitting:
Phase 1: Per State guidelines, the Parks Dept. will not permit field use for sporting events. It is not possible for most sporting events, and even practice, to congregate less than 10 people.

Phase 2: The Parks Dept. will defer to the latest guidance, but Parks could, per State and local guidelines, permit field use for more than 50 people in circumstances that readily allow for appropriate physical distancing. It will be up to the permittee/applicant to comply with State and local guidelines for group number and social distancing. Events will likely have to limit the amount of people in attendance based on the size of the park location.

Generally, equipment should not be shared and needs to be appropriately sanitized after each use.
Generally, equipment should not be shared and needs to be appropriately sanitized after each use.
Open Space:
Phase 1/2: Operations will continue as normal with a priority on encouraging social distancing. Staff will be working with partner organizations and contractors to offer guidance on operations ensuring social distancing, appropriate group size and use of tools.

Civic Center:
Phase 1: The facility will remain closed to the public and to all events. Tickets for future events can be purchased online or by calling 447-8481.

Phase 2: The facility could resume regular business hours for box office. Staff is working with the Lewis and Clark Public Health Department to establish appropriate capacity for groups in each space.

Last Chance Splash Pool:
Last Chance Splash Pool:

Phase 2: Parks will follow up-to-date State and local guidance and specifics of operations are still to be determined. If the Emergency Declaration is modified and phase 2 is implemented, the pool could operate at limited capacity with potential closure of the waterpark area. Swim lessons could be offered on a somewhat different schedule and capacity. Sanitation procedures will be established per State and Lewis and Clark Public Health Guidelines.

Phase 3: If Phase 3 is initiated this summer, seasonal staffing (at Phase 2 levels) would not allow additional service operations, so stage two operations would remain.

Kay’s Kids:
Phase 1: There will be no in-person camp in Phase 1. A "Take Home Camp" newsletter could be offered every week with activities for families to do together.
Phase 1: There will be no in-person camp in Phase 1. A "Take Home Camp" newsletter could be offered every week with activities for families to do together.
Phase 2: Safe operating capacity is yet to be determined. It is likely camp could have smaller groups at separate parks or have a registration and enrollment cap of 45.

Tennis Lessons:
Phase 1/2: Lessons will be held and staff will sanitize equipment between lessons.

Golf Course:
Phase 1: Operations will continue in a limited capacity. Golf carts will be available for rent with sanitization after each use. Rental carts will only be available for one-use per day. The retail shop is open with limits on the number of people in the shop to accomplish social distancing. Tee times are spaced 10 minutes apart and operating hours remain reduced. League restrictions are in place and May tournaments have been postponed.
Phase 1: Operations will continue in a limited capacity. Golf carts will be available for rent with sanitization after each use. Rental carts will only be available for one-use per day. The retail shop is open with limits on the number of people in the shop to accomplish social distancing. Tee times are spaced 10 minutes apart and operating hours remain reduced. League restrictions are in place and May tournaments have been postponed.
Phase 2: Preliminarily, tee times will return to 9-minute intervals. Individual and group lessons will resume with increased physical distancing measures followed. Private cart owners could be allowed to ride in pairs.

Muni’s:
Muni’s:

Starting May 4: Muni's will open with social distance seating and appropriate health guidelines and operating plan in place.

Phase 2: Muni's will follow up-to-date State and local restaurant guidelines for operations.