Parks in Pine Bluff have been closed at earlier times due to COVID-19 concerns and the current curfew that is in place, but Parks and Recreation Director Sam Glover says that parks are still open for citizens to enjoy.

“The Governor has encouraged that you go out,” said Glover. “Arkansas is the Natural State, and here in Pine Bluff we have some of the best parks and some of the best natural landscape in the state of Arkansas. You can go out and enjoy that. Social distancing activities are aplenty in our parks here.”

While the parks are open, they are closing early at times due to the ongoing curfew.

“Normal times the parks will be open until about 9 p.m.,” said Glover. “During this COVID-19 the weekend hours are from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. to discourage large gatherings.”

Glover said he understands that people are beginning to get “cabin fever” and want to get out, but social distancing must still take place.

“I understand people are beginning to get a little cabin fever and feel like they want to go around and let the windows down, drop the top, and come to see some of their friends they haven’t seen,” said Glover. “They feel like they are in an open setting around Saracen Landing and Regional Park, but it is still a large gathering. We want to follow what the CDC is saying. No groups larger than 10, and even with that group of 10, they need to be spaced out six-foot.”

Glover was made aware of a large gathering of people at Saracen Landing Sunday afternoon where the CDC social distancing guidelines were not practiced when the gates were not closed at 3:30 p.m.

“We shut them down for three weeks, locking the gates and not permitting that type of behavior,” said Glover. “We figured that they would get the message, but they did not get the message, and they came out and kind of took advantage of that.”

Despite that large gathering at Saracen Landing, Glover still encourages citizens to use the parks.

“Use the parks, just social distance. There is plenty to do,” said Glover. “I will commend the people who are coming out. We have seen more activity in our parks than we have seen in a very long time because many people are forced to do that. I don’t want to get long winded, but there are a lot of activities to do at our parks – especially at Saracen Landing and Regional Park.”