• 72°

Lanett closes playground

LANETT — Late Tuesday afternoon, Lanett city officials closed the playground across from W.O. Lance Elementary School. The main entrance gate has been locked and signs have been placed on all sides that the playground area has been closed until further notice. At the time of closure some children were having fun on playground equipment on the upper terrace and some older kids were playing soccer on the middle terrace.

Planning and Development Director Tony Chandler and city employee Jody Lowery locked the gate and put up the signs. They will also be putting up signs in public areas directing people not to congregate and to make sure they wash their hands frequently. The action was taken in response to an order issued this past Friday by State Health Officer Scott Harris.

In the order, Harris said that a state of emergency was in effect across the state due to the spread of COVID-19 and that public gatherings had to cease. “Social distancing measures are necessary to be implemented on a statewide basis to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Since 5 p.m. CDT on Friday, March 28, all non-work related gatherings of 10 or more people have been suspended. Also prohibited are any non-work related gatherings than cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between people.

In addition to closing activities on public playground equipment, the order closes until further notice fitness centers, commercial gyms, spas, swimming pools, and any spectator sport in which athletes are closer than 6 feet apart. The order shuts down close-contact service providers such as barber shops, hair and nail salons, waxing salons, threading salons, tanning salons and body art and tattoo parlors. Retail stores other than essential outlets such as grocery stores, convenience stores and pharmacies have been closed until further notice.

“We need to stay at home as much as possible and maintain social distancing,” said Mayor Kyle McCoy. “We have to do what it takes to defeat this virus.”

While the mayor, Chandler and Lowery were closing the park, a woman who was driving by stopped to thank them. She told them that she worked in a local plant that had been closed for several days after some employees had tested positive for the virus and one of them had died. She said the plant had reopened and that she would report to work if told to but was afraid to be there. “I need my job, but I need my life even more,” she said. “I know it’s dangerous to be where I am, but I need to work. Thank you for closing the park. We all need to get serious about this.”