ITHACA, N.Y. –– Tompkins County Public Health Director Frank Kruppa recommended the closure of all recreational facilities that use shared equipment in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“I am recommending the closing of recreational facilities where equipment is shared, such as playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickle ball courts, soccer fields, etc,” Kruppa said in a statement over the weekend. “Other recreational facilities where social distancing cannot be maintained should also be closed.”

The City of Ithaca has already taken steps to discourage gatherings in park, removing basketball hoops from city parks and closing the skatepark.

Kruppa went on to recommend that signage be added to all trails and parks to encourage appropriate social distancing.

As a reminder, social distancing means staying at least 6 feet, or two adult armlengths from other people.

Getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, garden, ride a bicycle or visit a park are healthy ways to stay active and reduce stress and anxiety while staying at home and social distancing. These are some simple ways you can protect yourself and your household from COVID-19 while enjoying the outdoors.

Important points:

  • Spend outdoor time alone, or with just one or two others at the most. Only interact with those in your immediate household.
  • Avoid close contact with anyone, even when outside. Keep a distance of more than 6 feet to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 6-feet is two adult arm lengths.
  • Do not play games or do activities that require close contact.
  • Don’t share equipment such as bicycles, helmets, balls or frisbees.
  • Avoid frequently touched surfaces and objects. This includes playground equipment like slides and swings.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Cover your cough and sneezes with a tissue and discard the tissue in a closed container.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol:
    • When you return indoors,
    • before and after eating,
    • after using the restroom,
    • after coughing or sneezing, and
    • after touching surfaces or items that may be contaminated.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at