Reopening of parks, preserves in Lee County first phase in slow process

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Lee County parks set to reopen

While walking trails and more than 20 county parks in Lee County reopen again Wednesday morning, county commissioners are looking to the governor’s new task force to see what comes next.

Opening trails at parks and preserves is the definition of a slow reopening – exactly how Commissioner Frank Mann wants it.

“It’s a matter of life and death and we’re going to be very careful before we bring crowds back together,” he said.

Commissioners plan to wait for the governor’s task force to make its recommendations, which are due Friday.

Dorris Cortis, 84, is not happy about the slow restart.

“As a senior citizen who is in the most vulnerable age group, I say the cure is worse than what’s going on,” Cortis said.

“I ran into a lady the other day. She’s a waitress. Her husband is a waiter. They have two little children, and with tears in her eyes, she was telling me I’ve never had to stand in line and ask for food for my family.”

Commission Chairman Brian Hamman said he wants to reopen businesses as soon as possible – as long as it’s safe.

“We just need to start talking about how can we get people back to work safely because every job is essential to the person that needs that paycheck,” Hamman said.

Mann said testing is the key, which is why it’s important to reopen slowly.

“I think nationwide we are still hoping to get better at testing and I’d say Lee County is no exception.”

While there is very little rapid testing locally, the commissioners said they’re confident in the test results, and as long as the trend keeps going down, they will plan on reopening the county in phases.

The preserves and parks that open Wednesday will have park rangers watching to make sure people are practicing social distancing.

Lakes Park will remain closed, as will pavilions and playgrounds.

To see a list of which parks and preserves will reopen, click here.

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