BRIDGEWATER — Bridgewater town officials wish to share additional information about Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase approach for reopening the state and the mandatory guidelines for recreational facilities allowed to reopen as part of the plan.
On Monday, May 18, Gov. Baker announced the first stage of the state’s reopening plan. The plan allowed some recreational facilities to reopen immediately and others on Monday, May 25. All industries and facilities allowed to reopen will need to adhere to severe restrictions.
Many outdoor recreational activities and businesses are permitted to reopen as part of Phase 1. These include beaches, golf courses, parks, fishing, hunting, boating, outdoor adventure activities including ski area summer activities and zip lines, mountain biking, outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves and public installations.
All visitors to parks and open space, as well as those participating in outdoor education programs should comply with the Governor’s order requiring face coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible. The order requires any person over the age of 2, whether indoors or outdoors, to wear a face covering or mask when they cannot maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others unless they have a medical condition preventing them from doing so.
Specific guidelines for various activities include:
Parks and Open Space
Walking, hiking, biking, running, and other activities (yoga, tai chi, etc.,) are allowable activities in parks and other designated areas such as rail trails, multi-use paths, and bike paths.
On trails, walkers and hikers should move aside and leave room for others to pass, and cyclists and runners should alert other users when approaching and wait for others to step aside before passing.
Athletic Fields and Non-Contact Courts
Athletic fields and athletic courts can be utilized only for non-contact sports, with no shared equipment, such as tennis and pickleball. No permits should be issued for group gatherings and users should not engage in pick-up games, organized games or tournaments.
Users should sanitize hands before and after play, not share equipment, and clean and wipe down equipment. When engaged in play, users should avoid touching other users’ equipment in separate areas.
Users should not engage in pick-up games, organized games, or tournaments.
Picnic Areas and Grills
Picnic and grill areas should be closed if social distancing cannot be maintained and sanitizing protocols cannot be performed between use.
Trash Disposal and Public Restrooms
Where available, trash disposal and restroom facilities should be available for public use. Trash disposal and restrooms at parks, reservations and open space managed by municipalities or other organizations for public use is available to the discretion of the city or town it is in and/or the managing organization.
Visitors of public parks, reservations, and open spaces should expect limited or no trash disposal receptacles. When visiting public properties without trash receptacles, visitors should adhere to a strict “carry in, carry out” policy and take waste with them.
Where trash receptacles are available for normal use, park managers should, where feasible, provide no touch, lidless trash cans.
Users should abide by social distancing standards for bathroom lines and follow any established visual guidelines for maintaining a six foot distance in all restroom facilities.
Restroom facilities should contain hand washing and/or sanitizer stations, and the public should use these stations following the use of the facilities.
Non-Commercial Dog-Walking and Dog Parks
Non-commercial dog-walking and dog parks are allowable activities to the extent allowed by the managing entity.
All dog walkers and their dogs should practice social distancing, and users should provide appropriate space for others and/or their dogs to pass when necessary.
Social distancing for dogs means that dogs not part of the same household should be kept at least six feet apart and avoid interacting with other dogs and other people from separate households.
Dog walkers should not share toys, treats, or other materials with dogs that are not within the same household, and they should supply their own bags associated with dog waste in the event there are none available on site and remove dog waste and dispose of it either in a designated receptacle onsite or at another appropriate location.
Dog walkers should supply their own water and other needs for their pets in the event there are none available onsite.
Community gardens, and associated activities, are permissible to the extent allowed by the managing entity.
Users of community gardens should follow social distancing guidelines and should avoid utilizing communal tools, hoses, and other equipment, and avoid the sharing of personal equipment whenever possible. Additionally, users are responsible for sanitizing items before and after each use.
Community garden users should only visit and utilize plots with members of the same household if social distancing cannot be maintained.
Outdoor Education Programs
Organized educational programs, activities and outdoor public art installations may occur in outdoor spaces during Phase 1 only if the program does not require individual participants to share equipment or make physical contact in order to engage in the activity.
To allow for adequate social distancing for the activity, as well as ingress and egress, the layout of the class should be managed to accommodate a minimum of a 12-foot distance between each individual activity station.
Facial coverings are required, and instructors and participants must always comply with all social distancing requirements and remain six feet apart. Programs must be conducted without shared equipment, tools or materials.
Activities must be limited to gatherings of no more than 10, including an instructor or leader. Organizers must use a pre-registration process to ensure group size.
Recreational activities scheduled to reopen as part of Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan include outdoor activities such as miniature golf courses, go-kart racing, batting cages and outdoor performances.
Recreational activities scheduled to reopen as part of Phase 3 include indoor activities such as indoor go-kart racing and batting cages, as well as sightseeing (such as bus tours, duck tours, harbor cruises and whale watching).
As for summer camps, recreational day camps are listed under Phrase 2 while residential camps are listed under Phase 3.
For more information on the above facilities and activities, click here.
For information on reopening details for non-recreational activities and facilities, such as driving schools, hotels, gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters and retails businesses, click here.