Skate park remains active, but COVID safety protocols are mostly ignored

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Photo by Logan Visola

Many teens and kids recently enjoyed the San Ramon skate park. While a sign at the park’s entrance reads a maximum of 20 people allowed an no social gatherings, many skaters were observed not social distancing and none were wearing masks.

Evan Heinz, Staff Writer

At the San Ramon skate park skaters are always on the move. 

The skaters do flips and grinds all over the park. Some skaters stay in their own area while others chat in groups. Their styles are completely different, but among them one thing is common: they very rarely wear masks.

Laughs can be heard all around the park, people really enjoy getting outside after being trapped staying inside for so long because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

When walking by the park, located along Bollinger Canyon Road between Central Park and City Hall, it is usually packed with people, even with COVID-19 still raging. 

Although some groups of people are making an effort to stay away from each other and wear masks, the small, gated skate park is still filled with many skaters who don’t seem to care about wearing masks or social distancing protocols.

“The skate park is pretty active and I don’t really see a difference with the number of people compared to pre-COVID,” sophomore Beau Strickland said.  “People are making an effort to wear masks and stay away from people though.” 

But some skaters say the COVID safety protocols at the skate park are not enforced. 

The skate park can get fairly crowded at times, something that has discouraged some skaters from going to the park much, if at all. Some skaters are skeptical about the safety of the skate park, and many believe nobody there cares about social distancing. 

“I wouldn’t feel safe at a skate park because it’s too packed and people don’t socially distance,” junior Corey Ashabranner said.

The skate park guidelines are clearly posted at the gate entrance, but beyond that there’s no one enforcing these rules.

“At the entrance of the City of San Ramon parks, there is signage encouraging wearing face covering when you are within six feet of anyone not in the same household,” city recreation supervisor Jennifer Gault said.  “Additionally, there is also a sign posted at the [skate] park entrance stating a maxim of 20 individuals at one time, and no social gatherings.” 

But on a recent visit to the park, no skaters were following the safety protocols.This seems reflective of how many Americans are failing to conform to health and safety rules around the country. 

When shelter in place began in mid-March, there were far fewer people at the skatepark. But nowadays with most people suffering from COVID fatigue, teens are bored staying inside and want to indulge in more outside activities. 

When asked about how quarantine affected the activity of the skate park, many skaters said whenCOVID began there were very few people at the park but as time went on it started to seem like they weren’t even in quarantine anymore.

There is some risk involved at the skate park and any other place where people can gather now that Contra Costa County has moved back to the state’s purple tier this week. In fact, 41 of the state’s 58 counties, which includes about 37 million people, are now in the strictest tier of the state’s four-part, color-coded reopening roadmap after a major jump in coronavirus cases, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.

Contra Costa County’s move back to the purple tier came Monday when the state reported a record 13,412 new coronavirus cases, the Los Angeles Times reported.