East Baton Rouge Parish - Since March 17, all of BREC’s indoor facilities, playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, and large attractions such as the Zoo, Bluebonnet Swamp, and Magnolia Mound have been closed to the public in order to help limit the spread of COVID-19. In anticipation of the Governor’s announcement that Louisiana will move into the first phase of loosening restrictions on May 15, BREC consulted with national, state and local recreation, health, and tourism experts to create a three-phased plan to reopen amenities and facilities as it is safe to do so.
The Governor’s Stay at Home Order declared that “engaging in outdoor activity, provided individuals maintain a distance of six feet from one another” is an essential activity along with obtaining food and medicine. As such, BREC has an obligation to provide its essential services to East Baton Rouge Parish residents where it is safe to do so. This phased reopening plan is driven by the following factors: offering public services to citizens where compliance with CDC, state, and local guidelines can be achieved; maintaining the health and safety of BREC staff and the community; protecting vulnerable populations; and adjusting the plan as the situation warrants.
In stage one, the following facilities and amenities will reopen with safety restrictions and modifications in place:
Baton Rouge Zoo (Members-only opening 18-20 and Public opening May 21)
Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center trails (May 18)
Dog parks (May 18)
Magnolia Mound grounds (May 18)
Public restrooms in community parks (May 18)
Recreation centers in community parks (May 18)
Tennis centers (May 18)
Neighborhood practice fields for individual or same household activities with groups under ten people (Continuous)
Trails and green spaces will remain open as they have throughout the pandemic; golf courses will also remain open (Continuous)
In order to adhere to National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and CDC recommendations and guidelines, BREC will not reopen playgrounds, outdoor fitness equipment, pavilions, fitness centers, senior centers, splash pads, swimming pools, Liberty Lagoon Water Park, large outdoor venues such as Burbank Soccer Complex, Central Sports Complex, Oak Villa Sports Complex, Memorial Stadium, Goldsby Field and Olympia Stadium, Farr Park Equestrian Center and Independence Park Theatre during the first stage of the reopening plan.
In compliance with state health officials, CDC and American Camp Association (ACA) recommendations, BREC will continue offering extraordinary summer experiences in a modified manner. Virtual experiences will continue to be offered and a limited number of modified in-person camps are tentatively scheduled to start June 8. More details on registration and additional safety measures in place will be posted at brec.org/summercamp as information becomes available.
“Since March, we have worked to provide a balance between public health and providing essential outdoor activities for the physical and mental well-being of our residents during this pandemic,” said BREC Superintendent Corey Wilson. “We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust the plan as necessary. Our hope is that we continue working together as a community to follow recommendations to limit the spread of the virus so that we can move toward the full reopening of our system as quickly and safely as possible,” Wilson said.
Attached is the full plan for phase one, which includes measures for public access to programming, staff and public safety, facilities and sanitation and community health promotion and partnerships. BREC’s Administrative Offices at 6201 Florida Boulevard will be open to the public on an appointment only basis in Phase 1. The public is encouraged to continue contacting BREC staff at (225) 292-7200 or info@ brec.org. Please visit BREC’s website at www.brec.org/COVID19 for the latest updates on the status of programs and facilities. The virtual portal offering videos, activity sheets and links to partner virtual opportunities can be found at www.brec.org/refresh.