At the order of the Richmond Town Board, Sandy Bottom Park in Honeoye has been closed, and the gates locked, as of Saturday, March 28.
The order was prompted by the controversy caused by several children and young adults being at the park at all hours, playing basketball, and not being “socially distanced,” as advised by state and local authorities during the coronavirus outbreak. The state has closed schools, non-essential businesses and restaurants, funerals, and large group assemblies in an effort to stem the spread of coronavirus and advised people to stay home. However, the locally-owned park had not come under state purview, and so has continued to be a gathering place.
There was a controversy of about 50 posts on the Honeoye Happenings page of Facebook with people questioning why parents were allowing their children to “hang out” at the park on playground equipment and to play basketball there, since it is impossible to maintain social distancing when playing basketball. After some discussion of the situation, the Richmond Town Board decided to follow state guidelines for assembly places and voted to close the park.
Town Supervisor Darryl Marshall wrote a letter to the town on the Town of Richmond Facebook page, which said in part “As I have previously posted, the Town Hall has reduced our staff and gone to communicating via email, telephone and by appointment. We will continue to provide essential services, with minimal health risk for everyone.”
“I realize as the weather is getting warmer, we all want to go outside and enjoy what our community has to offer. At this point, we have decided to close the basketball and tennis courts, along with the playgrounds, at Sandy Bottom Beach. This virus can live on hard surfaces and we have no way to keep the equipment sanitized, along with the difficulty of maintaining the required 6 foot separation between individuals.”
“This is also a very difficult time for the businesses in our community. I would ask everyone to support these essential businesses that remain open, in any way you can, but remember practice social distancing!”
No re-open date for the park has been set.