City of Lenoir facilities remaining closed through Safer At Home Phase 2, July 4th celebration canceled

LENOIR, NC (May 26, 2020) — City of Lenoir facilities, including the outdoor pool, will remain closed through Safer At Home Phase 2. Staff, with the approval of City Council, also canceled the July 4th celebration.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper issued his Safer At Home Phase 2 executive order Friday, May 22, 2020. Phase 2 limits mass gatherings to no more than 10 people indoors or 25 people outdoors in most circumstances. Click here to read the press release. Safer At Home Phase 2 runs through at least Friday, June 26, according to the Governor’s release.

City staff discussed Safer At Home Phase 2 with Council during the Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday morning, May 26. Due to concerns about managing facilities, staff recommended to Council that the City keep public facilities and recreation centers closed through the end of Safer At Home Phase 2, including the Lenoir Aquatic & Fitness Center (LAFC) and outdoor pool. Staff also recommended canceling the July 4th celebration.

Parks and Recreation Director Kenny Story told Council that most surrounding towns are canceling their fireworks and events due to concerns about crowd size and social distancing.

“I have talked with several of the surrounding Parks and Recreation Directors and the majority of them have cancelled their event or are planning to cancel,” Story wrote in a memo to Council. “Since many events have already been cancelled, it is very possible we could end up with larger numbers of additional people from other areas if we held our July 4th event. This has the potential to increase our traffic and crowd control problems, specifically for law enforcement.”

Click here to read Story’s memo to Council.

City Councilman Todd Perdue supported the decision and said the City has to set the example.

“I think it’s important that our citizens know that we are following the Governor’s recommendations,” Perdue said. “Money isn’t the issue; it’s the safety of our people, and we need to set a good example.”

After the discussion, Council agreed that the best option for now is to keep City facilities closed and cancel the July 4th celebration.

Under Phase 2, playgrounds are still closed, but the public is welcome to use the greenway and public green spaces for exercise. Click here to visit the State’s Staying Ahead of the Curve page and learn more about Phase 2.