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Recreation department facilities all open - but staff keeping close eye on COVID numbers



After an on again, off again, on again schedule since March, the Pickens County Recreation Department is now open regular hours – but the rec director is preparing for abrupt changes if there is a local spike in COVID-19 cases. 

Speaking at the July commissioner’s work session, director Brian Jones reported the facility is now open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

“That’s the biggest thing I want to get out,” he said. “We’re just not seeing the foot traffic like we did pre-COVID.”

In addition to low foot traffic, he told commissioners summer camp, which recently wrapped up, was “disappointing.” They capped participation at 40 kids a day due to COVID restrictions, but they didn’t average more than 20 children a day. Popular morning pickleball activities have also seen a decline in participation. 

“This thing changes daily,” he said, going on to discuss the upcoming football season. “We’re planning like we’re going to play football. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll have to do exactly what we did during baseball season and that’s issue refunds. It’s not ideal for our budget, but it’s the best thing we can do for the kids and the parents.”

Commission chair Rob Jones asked about planning for fall sports like basketball. 

“I’m very skeptical that basketball will be able to be played,” he said, “simply because once you get to the fall you’re going to see an uptick in COVID and we’ll just have to rely on the department of health and CDC and keep those kids as safe as possible. But one you start moving those kids from outside to inside I think you’re going to see an uptick in those cases. We’re going to plan like we’re going to have basketball season and do registration like we normally do with the intention of playing. If we have to shut down for weeks or for a season we’ll deal with that as we can. I’m a planner at heart…but I have learned that COVID does not like planning at all.”  

Jones emphasized that the main rec department building, as well as playgrounds and outdoor restrooms, are disinfected and sanitized daily, and that COVID precautions will be taken with sports practices.