JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Stay-home orders stemming from the coronavirus outbreak have shut down basketball across the country — not just at the professional level but also at Jacksonville’s parks.
The goal is to keep people from gathering in large groups at playgrounds since the city’s parks are often the setting for pickup basketball games.
Rims and backboards on basketball hoops at parks throughout the city have been taken down as officials seek to keep crowds to a minimum.
“There are other ways of getting exercise,” Daryl Joseph, the city’s parks and recreation director, told News4Jax. “We love the fact that people want to use our parks and there will be a time for that, but right now is a time for us to follow the orders that are in place.”
That means maintaining a safe social distance, which public health experts say will be key to preventing the virus from rapidly spreading across the country.
So far, the city has removed 10 basketball hoops because of complaints. Those include hoops at Crabtree Park in the Lakewood and hoops at Fishweir Park in Avondale.
“We looked at the complaints we received as far as complaints about courts,” Joseph said. “And we looked at the locations around the city that had a good amount of usage as far as basketball.”
While hoops can still be found at some parks in the city, people are not supposed to be using them as parks have been closed to the public.
Some athletes have expressed frustrations about the situation on social media. Joseph said the city will replace the hoops once parks reopen.
In neighboring St. Johns County, rims at parks remain intact because officials there said the basketball courts can still be used responsibly.