City of Phoenix halts sports facility reservations as coronavirus cases rise
PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council voted on Wednesday to halt all athletic field reservations and tournaments at facilities managed by the city in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
The council voted 7-2 to implement the cancellation, which will take effect Thursday.
Ramadas, picnic tables, fitness equipment, basketball courts, volleyball courts and sports complexes under the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department’s jurisdiction will remain closed until the spread of coronavirus in the community returns to moderate spread.
Despite the targeted closures, the city’s parks, hiking trails and golf courses will remain open.
“This is an unprecedented time for the City of Phoenix that requires strong action to curb the skyrocketing spread of COVID-19 in our community,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement on Twitter.
Gallego noted that she shares the concerns of other parents who are worried about the children’s safety and by making the move now, they will be able to quickly return to games and tournaments.
The city’s decision comes as hospital and education leaders in the state have begged Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey to take meaningful coronavirus mitigation measures, like banning indoor dining and group athletic events, implementing curfews and limiting gatherings to no more than 25 people.
Councilman Sal DiCiccio vehemently disagreed with Gallego and called the move a “failure of leadership” in a statement.
“Mayor Gallego has spent months attacking the state over their COVID measures, but has not proposed even one single bold move of her own. Not one single bold move,” DiCiccio said. “Instead, she has repeatedly relied on knee-jerk reactions like we saw today regarding the parks.”
DiCiccio and Councilman Jim Waring voted against the measure.
Arizona has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in the past weeks, putting a strain on health care resources.
On Wednesday, Arizona health officials reported 3,840 new coronavirus cases and 52 deaths, bringing the documented totals 340,979 COVID-19 infections and 6,739 fatalities.