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UPDATE: Several other local jurisdictions chose to close some facilities over the weekend.

Editor's note: In an executive order issued Monday, March 23, Gov. Kate Brown ordered the closure of all playgrounds as well as athletic courts, superseding the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District's decision to keep courts open. The original story follows below.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE  - Ian Bake runs across a bridge on the Westside Trail between Southwest Rigert Road and Flagstone Drive in Beaverton. Trails in the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District are staying open, but playgrounds and exercise equipment are closed.Parks and playgrounds in the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District are under new restrictions as of Sunday, March 22.

The park district announced it is closing playgrounds and declaring play equipment and exercise equipment off limits to the public due to the coronavirus emergency.

The novel coronavirus, which can cause the viral illness COVID-19, is thought to spread via respiratory droplets on surfaces. The virus can live on hard surfaces for days. A person who comes into contact with the surface, then touches their mouth, nose or eyes, can introduce the virus into their body and become infected.

THPRD covers Beaverton and its environs, including much of Aloha.

The nearby cities of Tigard and Sherwood put similar restrictions into place earlier this weekend. Those cities also closed athletic courts to the public.

THPRD isn't taking that step for now, but the district is warning users against playing with people outside members of their own household.

"All contact sports including basketball, lacrosse, football, soccer, baseball, and tennis, and similar activities, should be carefully limited," the district said in a Sunday statement. "No games or gatherings are allowed. Shooting hoops or tossing a ball should be limited to people interacting only with their immediate household members."

THPRD is advising park users to stick to non-contact activities, such as walking, biking or running.

"We are taking these critical steps knowing full well they are necessary to slow the spread of the virus and save lives," said Felicita Monteblanco, president of the THPRD board, in a statement. "We need the public's help and cooperation. It is critical that we all do our part, respect the new temporary rules, and limit our physical contact and interaction right now."

By Mark Miller
Washington County Editor
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