KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Cars and people packed Loose Park on a beautiful Sunday. The only thing that would make it better is more distance between members of larger groups.
Mayor Quinton Lucas says a little distance will go a long way against COVID-19.
“I do have qualms with the groups of people that clearly appear to not be following any type of social distancing, at all, and are kind of just going in groups of five or six,” Lucas said. “That’s absolutely not what we’re trying to have right now.”
Lucas says the balance between public health and mental health is a big challenge, but at this point public health gets top spot.
“How can we socialize without compromising our health?” Park-goer Erick Hill wondered.
“The more people that show up, the bigger our circle gets,” Park-goer Isaac Fields said.
These friends say the circle is to keep their sanity during the stay at home order.
They try to follow the rules, like no more than ten people, staying six feet apart and the use of masks.
“Still having a good time, still enjoying friends, but being conscious of something as serious as this virus,” Hill said.
“If I’m in a public space where it’s tight – mask on,” another friend said. “Here we have a breeze, we’re social distancing. We’re fine”
But Lucas said groups of five or six friends is not in the spirit of social distancing. That’s why they’ve closed tennis courts and took down basketball nets.
He appreciates the people creating space between each other. Like walkers and joggers curving into the grass when someone else is on the sidewalk.
“People been giving us room,” Xavier Bowers said laying on a blanket in the grass. “Like people will just either walk around us or they’ll just walk by.”
“Yeah, we haven’t had to worry about people being too close to us,” Jasmine Wilkes said.
Park goers say more people are practicing social distancing this weekend compared to last, but we’re not there yet.
“We can write every rule in the book, we can send every cop out there in the book, but really it’s going to be up to each and every one of us to follow these rules no matter where we live and that’s how we get to break this crisis,” Lucas said.
Missouri’s state-wide Stay at Home Order begins at 12:01 a.m. and is set to end April 24th, but it’s possible it will be extended.