FARGO — With social distancing in full-force in the Fargo-Moorhead area, cabin fever has set in and it isn't going anywhere.
Mother Nature has decided it's springtime and she is ready to pull the metro out of the cold it's been in since November. But with the weather warming up and people beginning to emerge from their dreary winter dens, what will happen to the places around town that attract humans when the weather is nice — like city parks and outdoor facilities in Fargo?
"Right now in a typical year, we'd be opening up our parks," said Dave Leker, executive director of the Fargo Park District. "That'd be washing tennis courts down, prepping our golf courses to open and just get things kind of cleaned up in the area because people are itching to get out. This year, with the COVID virus, you know, we're still proceeding as if we were going to open."
It's springtime as usual for the park district — at least as far as outdoor spaces are concerned. Golf courses will still be worked on, tennis courts will still be cleaned and ready to go and trails will be picked up, allowing outdoor activities to continue, as long as social distancing practices are followed.
"We just ask the residents of Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo, as has been the guidelines out there, keep your social distance," Leker said.
Trails might be the best thing to use, he said, because people tend to walk alone, not in large groups.
"What we don't want to see out there is big groups — like team activities — whether that's basketball or baseball or soccer," he said. "We don't want to have big games going on. If you want to go out there and shoot a couple hoops with you and one or two of your pals, that's fine. But, you know, keep your spacing. Don't be guarding guys as you would in basketball."
He said it comes down to self-responsibility and self-accountability and realizing that if guidelines, like social distancing, aren't followed, it could mean stricter rules will be enforced.
But the Fargo Park District doesn't only deal with parks because it also handles some indoor facilities and events. With guidelines and directives enforcing small gatherings and promoting distance between people, some annual events have been postponed or canceled completely, such as the recent Celtic Fest that didn't go on as planned.
"We're still kind of holding on for our summer programs," he said. "They typically don't get going until late May or June, and we're still hoping that maybe we see that downward trend and we can open things back up and still get some of these team activities going."
Still, Leker said it's a "week-by-week" thing, and if things aren't improved in time for summer programs to safely happen, more schedule changes or cancellations could occur.
As families are quarantined together and cabin fever starts to set in, getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors is important. Although there are guidelines in place to protect the public from the spread of the coronavirus, there are still many opportunities to get out.
"If you can get your family out in open space, I mean, you can do pretty much anything you can," Leker said. "You can play ball, you can run, you can throw Frisbees, you can do a lot of things within just your family unit. And it's probably a good thing to get back to what we used to do when I was a kid, you know, 30 to 40 years ago. Get out with your family, walk and talk. I know right now, gaming is big for kids, but you've got to limit that too. You've got to get them outside and you got to enjoy the environment outside."