Coronavirus: Bay Area residents adapting to new shelter-in-place restrictions

Wednesday, April 1, 2020
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Bay Area parkgoers are adapting to the new shelter-in-place restrictions that were put in place to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- Parkgoers faced a new reality on Wednesday: locked gates at tennis courts, skate parks, golf courses and dog parks.

The new shelter-in place-order tightens the rules in the Bay Area to try and prevent people from getting together and passing the novel coronavirus to each other.

RELATED: Bay Area officials add new restrictions on what people can do during extended COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders

Susan Benson and her dog, Newman, encountered a closed dog park at Heather Farms Community Park Wednesday morning. Benson said the dog park has felt like a safe place during this pandemic, but she figured this was coming.

"There's not as many people and people do keep their distance, so I don't feel it is a huge problem. But whatever needs to be done, I am good for," she said.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the San Francisco Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

Newman likes to play with Sydney, whose owner also wasn't surprised the park is now closed. Bill Roberts says he will just walk Sydney, but he worries about those who don't have that option.

"There are some folks who come into the dog park with walkers and canes who can't walk around the pond like Sue and I do. Where do they go?" he asked.

A man and woman were spotted playing pickleball Wednesday, despite the lock on the gate. Some argue these orders need to be better enforced.

RELATED: Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19

"We need to respect the rules. And we don't enforce it very well. In Taiwan, you walk out the door, you are going to get a $5,000 fine. That is a lot of money," said Ralph Davis as he walked around Heather Farms.

Bay Area officials say the shelter-in-place efforts of the last two weeks appear to be working. But they want to do more to try and avoid a public health crisis from happening here in the next few weeks.

The new order mandates that golf courses, tennis courts and dog parks be closed. The shelter-in-place order has also now been extended until May 3.

"We all need to subscribe to whatever the rules are, whether we like them are not. They are for our own protection, for gosh sake," said Roberts.

Walnut Creek police say their focus is not on writing people citations but on educating them about the restrictions. They say they will respond to calls for service and will break people up if they see them congregating.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here