Harford County announced a four-stage plan to resume indoor and outdoor recreational activities Tuesday, signaling that some outdoor programs can resume next week, but indoor programs will have to wait a while longer.
Outdoor activities on county facilities run by independent recreation council programs will be allowed starting Monday, Feb. 1, as will Harford County Parks and Recreation programs, according to phase one of the plan. Activities at Cedar Lane will also resume, and McFaul Skate Park will be open every day from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phase two will see the return of outdoor organized activities for non-recreation council programs on March 1. Permits can be received through by contacting their local county parks and recreation office. Outdoor pavilion rentals will resume the same day.
Though outdoor activities have hard dates associated with their reopening, indoor rec council and county parks and recreation activities will have to wait until all county employees have the opportunity to get a vaccine. County spokesperson Cindy Mumby said the county hopes to be able to offer vaccines to its employees and get indoor activities back on track by March 1, but the availability of vaccines is the deciding factor.
County Executive Barry Glassman believes county employees belong in group one of the state’s vaccine schedule and is seeking to get them vaccinated, Mumby said.
“He is hopeful that we can get that by March 1, but we do not have vaccines here,” Mumby said. “That is the goal, but the county executive is working to secure vaccines from any source to be able to offer this to county employees.”
After county employees have the chance to get the vaccines, Emmorton Tennis members can resume use of the facility, Swan Harbor events can resume, McFaul Skate Park can resume its normal hours, and building partners who have memorandums of understanding with Harford County Parks and Recreation can return.
Group size, mask wearing and social distancing requirements must still be followed in all phases of the reopening.
In phase four, all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted. Glassman will make that decision in consultation with the Harford County Health Department at a later date.
Mumby said the county executive wanted outdoor activities to return by the spring and wanted to share the plan with the public. Mumby said sharing the plan gives clarity to some groups of county residents who want to know when county recreation activities will reopen.
Parks and recreation programs that were suspended included those held in gymnasiums at Harford County Public Schools buildings. The school facilities do not fall under Glassman’s authority, and programs that took place there will not resume until the school system reopens those buildings to the public.