LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - On Apr. 6, a Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Facebook post alerted citizens that parish parks would be open over Easter weekend. The posts garnered many negative reactions, with one comment questioning the Police Jury’s intent.
Media and Communications Director, Tom Hoefer explained they were just preparing for the weekend ahead.
“The only thing is that with the upcoming three-day holiday coming up we figured that a lot of people wanted to be outdoors and that we’re going to have a lot of questions about that," Hoefer said. "In anticipation of that and hoping to answer those questions in advance, before we shut down for three days, we went ahead and made a Facebook post, that our parks will be open.”
The Police Jury did not mean the post to be an invitation to encourage crowds.
“Maybe we didn’t word it as well as it possibly could’ve been worded, but our intention was simply to get information out to those people who were calling and asking questions about our parks,” Hoefer said.
State and federal mandates have closed many aspects of the parks, but some services are still open and will be available this Easter weekend.
“The services will be limited: the playgrounds are closed, the facilities, the pavillions, etc are all closed," Hoefer said. "The boat launches are open. We expect the social distancing, the recommendations coming down from the state and the federal government to be adhered to.”
Signs are being up across parish parks reminding people to continue social distancing, something that will be regulated.
“Yes, our staff are aware that there may be attempts at larger gatherings and they will be looking for those, and if need be they will ask those people to disperse into smaller groups and observe those social distancing guidelines,” Hoefer said.
Bathrooms are still open and will continue to be open at parish parks. They are regularly being disinfected.
Lake Charles city parks will be open this weekend, but those buildings and playgrounds are closed.