Families visit Omaha parks as they reopen one week early

Posted at 6:09 PM, Apr 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 19:09:40-04

OMAHA. NEB. (KMTV) - — Omaha parks are now re-opened one week ahead of schedule, Mayor Jean Stothert made the announcement Friday at a news conference.

Early Saturday afternoon turned out to be the perfect day for city parks to re-open for the Fannin family.

"It's so breezy and nice and it's not too hot," Violet Fannin said.

The city closed parks in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, after seeing large groups at several area parks.

Karen Fannin says her family missed going to the park after the closures, so they were eager to get back out.

"They miss the playgrounds for sure and of course that's still closed (it makes sense for that to be closed for sure), it's just nice to be able to go to another place and have a change of scenary," Fannin said.

The family of four played soccer at Memorial Park, Fannins says being able to enjoy the outdoors outside of their home makes a huge difference in a time of social isolation.

"I think it just helps spark our spirits and feel like it's okay for us to be out," Fannin said. "While we could ride our bikes through this park last week, it's nice to be able to stop and do something here."

Katie Weis lives in walking distance of Memorial Park.

She walks her dogs their often said it was strange to see the park so empty and bare.

"It's just important for people to get outside," Weis said. "It's definitely good for mind and body as far as health goes, so that's what people need extra of right now, obviously everybody's got extra stress and things like that so it's just very therapeutic to be able to get outside ... it's good for everybody."

But just because parks are reopened, Mayor Jean Stothert says people should still be practicing social distancing.

"We figure our parks are big enough that people can spread out and follow that 6-foot rule," Stothert said. "But we don't to see big groups of people in our parks."

City parks will be open from 5 a.m. until 8 p.m., and all playgrounds will remain closed.

"Please be careful, we want you to enjoy the outside but we really want to protect your safety too," Stothert said.