Hartford to Close Parking Lots at City Parks to Encourage Social Distancing

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The city of Hartford will be closing parking lots at its parks after seeing large crowds of people gathering in those areas over the weekend.

Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin explained that while city parks will remain open, the parking lots will be closed to discourage people from gathering in large groups. Food trucks will also be prohibited from parking near parks Friday through Sunday.

As of Monday, there are 648 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hartford and 55 residents have died. The mayor stressed that social distancing is still a priority to keep the community healthy.

“This is a deadly virus. It’s still here, it’s still spreading and we need to continue to take it seriously," Bronin said.

The mayor also noted that officials are communicating with owners of large buildings in the city with multiple residents. He reminded residents of those types of buildings to be extra careful in shared spaces like elevators, hallways, and laundry facilities.

The city is also dealing with an uptick in reports of ATVs and dirt bikes out illegally on city streets and parks. While it is not unusual to see more of this activity as the weather warms up, the mayor said they may be seeing even more of it than usual, and that police are cracking down.

Officials are particularly concerned that reckless riders are putting others' lives at risk as more people and families are outside for recreation.

Police seized 30 dirt bikes and ATVs in the last three weeks, some of which were stolen, and made a number of arrests.

“It’s about keeping our community safe just as we work to keep our community healthy," Bronin said of the crackdown.

The number of coronavirus cases in Connecticut have now exceeded 17,950 and nearly 1,130 deaths have been reported.

The mayor also announced a series of webinars from the City Sustainability Office in honor of the 50th anniversary of Early Day. the programs focus on climate stewardship and sustainability in Hartford and general education on the topic.

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