Bhubaneswar: After remaining shut for last two months due to the coronavirus outbreak, all government and private parks in the capital city are likely to reopen soon, official sources said on Thursday.
On March 21, a day before lockdown was imposed in Odisha, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) decided to immediately close all parks till March 31 to avoid mass gatherings. With the lockdown continuing, the parks have remained shut.
The state capital has 67 parks, which serve as lungs for a city oscillating between modern habitations and slums. Most of these are managed by BMC and Bhubaneswar Development Authority.
Though Bhubaneswar, which had initially become a hotspot for COVID-19 and has recorded over 50 corona positive cases, is still vulnerable to spread of the dreaded disease, the authorities are planning to reopen the parks to allow the denizens to relax, recreate and exercise in the morning and evening hours while strictly adhering to social distancing norms and wearing masks.
“We now know that we have to live with coronavirus at least for some months till a vaccine is invented. Hence, we have to gradually lift the restrictions and bring in a sense of normalcy. But our efforts to convince citizens to remain careful and follow all guidelines to fight COVID-19 will continue unabated,” an official said.
The closure of parks within BMC limits was implemented in line with the state government’s regulations to minimise and contain the spread of COVID-19 by promoting social distancing.
“It is observed that despite regulation, there uncontrollable crowds observed in parks and the guidelines of social distancing are not being adhered to which has the potential for spreading the disease,” a BMC notification said.