St. Petersburg parks to remain open, for now

Coronavirus

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman does not want to shut down the city’s parks, but he will if he has to.

After the county issued a safer at home order last week, Kriseman and his staff have been monitoring how citizens in the city are behaving.

Despite the parks being open, playgrounds are not. Mayor Kriseman said, in a Facebook address today, a fence and a closed sign aren’t enough for some.

“Per the county’s order, we have closed all of our playgrounds and exercise zones and we ask that you stay away from them,” said Mayor Kriseman. “So that means, you don’t climb the fence that we’ve put around them so that your kids can play on the playground.”

Lexi Germaise, who lives in a small St. Petersburg apartment is disappointed people aren’t following the rules.

“This is all we have left, is public parks,” said Germaise, who now works out at North Shore Park. “So, we have no gym, we have nowhere to go. Even my apartment complex gym is closed so we really don’t have anywhere to work out. I live in 800 square feet of apartment and I don’t have anywhere to move.”

Shanta Wilson is also disappointed. She drove to the park with her two young girls, hoping they could get on the playground equipment and let off some steam.

“My kids are already stuck in the house. We can’t do too much,” said Wilson. “Then, we come to the park, we thought they could at least run around the park to get some of the energy off, you know? But it’s like, what can we do? “

Mayor Kriseman understands these are tough times and he believes by working together we will all get through this. But if people don’t follow the rules, he may be forced to pull the plug.

“If you don’t follow the social distancing rules, you may give me no choice. I don’t want to get there,” said Mayor Kriseman. “Hopefully by your following the rules and our police enforcement, we won’t have to.”

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