East Baton Rouge Parish - BREC will move into stage two of its phased reopening plan on Monday, June 8 following the Governor’s announcement that the state is able to further loosen restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. BREC’s leadership is working closely with national, state and local recreation, health and tourism experts as it moves through a three-phased plan to safely reopen indoor facilities, high-touch outdoor amenities and allow rentals, group activities, programs and events to resume.
The 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 two, the following facilities and amenities will reopen with safety restrictions and modifications in place. Visit www.brec.org/COVID19 for details:
Baton Rouge Zoo: Playground, KidsZoo Barn and Otter Cabin
Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, Magnolia Mound, Farr Park Equestrian Center and Highland Road Observatory
Oak Villa and Central Sports Park
Recreation centers for structured programs only (no free play) at: Zachary, Anna T. Jordan, Independence, North Sherwood Forest, Perkins Road, Highland and Forest Community Parks as well as Baker, Lovett, Gus Young, Church, Antioch and Jefferson Highway neighborhood parks from 2-6 p.m., Monday-Friday
Picnic pavilions (no rentals or permits)
Outdoor fitness equipment
Beach volleyball courts
In order to adhere to the Governor’s executive order as well as National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and CDC recommendations and guidelines, BREC will not reopen Burbank Soccer Complex; Memorial Stadium; Goldsby Field and Olympia Stadium; Independence Park Theatre; the aquarium, contact yard and train at the Zoo; and senior centers during the second stage of the reopening plan. Baton Rouge Soccer Club (BRSC) will offer individual training for their members at applicable BREC fields, but due to contact sports, such as football and soccer, not being allowed in the Governor’s order, no team activities will be allowed at this time., The public will be allowed into the gates at Burbank Soccer Complex to fish at the pond when scheduled BRSC training is being held. However, the dog park at the complex will remain closed.
BREC is awaiting further guidance regarding the reopening of Liberty Lagoon Water Park, splash pads, and community swimming pools and is hopeful they will be able to open in some fashion prior to phase three. BREC will also begin to offer rentals of ballfields and lights for non-contact sports and individual training and practice by mid-June. Pavilion rentals will resume in July in phase three. BREC staff and park rangers will monitor usage at all parks and BREC will continue to make adjustments to the plan as necessary, including adding back restrictions where determined necessary to protect the public’s and staff’s health.
In compliance with state health officials, CDC and American Camp Association (ACA) recommendations, BREC created a phased approach to summer camps as well. The first week of camp was comprised of interactive, virtual-only experiences for children. Weeks 2-4 offer a mix of virtual camps and in-person, full-day camps with a smaller number of children than in previous years. As restrictions are further loosened, BREC will announce registration for July camps and summer experiences in late June. For full details, please visit brec.org/summercamp.
“No one wants to see BREC’s full park system open back up more than me, as I am fully aware that parks are an integral component in providing solutions to underlying health conditions that plague our community such as hypertension, diabetes and obesity,” said BREC Superintendent Corey K. Wilson. “Since March, BREC staff has worked tirelessly to keep trails and green spaces clean and safe for use while preparing our buildings to be safely utilized as soon as restrictions began loosening. The most important thing we can do as a community is to continue to be vigilant about washing our hands, wearing masks, and practicing physical distancing so we can move toward the reopening of the full BREC system and all sectors of our economy,” said Wilson.
BREC’s Administrative Offices at 6201 Florida Boulevard will be open to the public without appointments starting Monday. Staff will take the temperature of everyone entering the building and masks will be available for those that request them. 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. BREC’s virtual portal offering videos, activity sheets and links to partner virtual opportunities can be found at www.brec.org/refresh.