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People head to the parks as Mecklenburg County eases restrictions

This was the first weekend where people were allowed to drive into parks and use the parking lot — the first time since the beginning of April.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County did not report any new deaths due to COVID-19 on Saturday. At this point, 50 people in the county have lost their lives to the virus.

County officials believe we will be ready for phase one of North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper's reopen plan. It could start as early as next week. 

Local leaders moving forward with relaxing restrictions.

This was the first weekend where people were allowed to drive into parks and use the parking lot — it was the first time since the beginning of April. 

Residents took full advantage. 

"I think its definitely good because people just feel like going crazy just sitting in the house watching tv all day," Christiana Daniels said. 

Saturday, people filled Freedom Park by the dozens. Social distancing recommendations were often being ignored. 

"A lot of us aren't really six feet away, the sheriff's around telling people to get off the monkey bars and stuff like that" Daniels said. 

There are still rules for using the parks. Playgrounds, sports courts, and bathrooms will stay closed for the time being.  

It's a small step to reopen our area. 

Health Director Gibbie Harris previously said that we're trending towards easing even more restrictions. 

"I feel confident unless there is some drastic change in the coming days, that we don't anticipate, that we'll be able to move into phase one next week," Harris said. 

Phase one shouldn't look too different from where we are now. 

North Carolina would be under a modified stay-at-home order. More businesses could open with social distancing guidelines, all parks would be open, and gatherings would be limited to 10 people. 

"The three-phase plan is like a dimmer switch letting us gradually lift restrictions so that we can get moving again without a dangerous spike in infections," Governor Cooper previously said. 


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