Some facilities to reopen, July 4 fireworks on with restrictions
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City of Morganton
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Some facilities to reopen, July 4 fireworks on with restrictions

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Just in time for summer, the city of Morganton is lifting closures on some of its recreation facilities.

As the state of North Carolina is in the midst of the second phase of reopening from the COVID-19 pandemic, the city’s parks and recreation department has announced plans to reopen some of its facilities with restrictions and to go forward with its July 4 fireworks display.

The city says it will reopen its pools and skeet range with restrictions this month and will hold a fireworks show on Saturday, July 4, at Freedom Park. The Collett Street Recreation Center and Mountain View Recreation Center will remain closed to the public, per Gov. Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 141, however.

“We are very glad we feel we can safely reopen some facilities and offer options for fun activities this summer, but this does not mean the pandemic is over,” said Morganton Parks and Recreation Director Rob Winkler in a press release.

“People using these facilities or attending the July 4 fireworks show should be vigilant and adhere to guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.”

The Morganton Aquatic Center will be the first to reopen, doing so Monday, June 8, the city said. The pool will only be open for classes and lap swim and there will be a maximum of 25 people allowed at any given time.

The indoor pool only will be open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m., staying closed on weekends, the release said. No groups or parties will be allowed yet and no summer passes will be available. Yearly memberships are prorated nonrefundable.

On Saturday, June 13, both the Collett Street Pool and the Morganton Skeet and Trap Range will reopen.

The Collett Street Pool will be available for open swim only, the city said. The toddler pool will remain closed. From Monday through Friday, swimming sessions will be held from noon to 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. On Saturdays, the pool will open from 10 a.m. to noon for lap swim. There will be two times for swim sessions after lap swim: noon to 3 p.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m. On Sundays, the pool will be open from 1-5 p.m.

Only 60 people will be allowed at a time based on the square footage of the pool, the release said. There will not be any classes, lessons or parties allowed. There will not be any concessions offered. There will be a drink machine with water available. Outside food and drink is not allowed at the Collett Street Pool. Dressing rooms will only be used for washing hands and using the bathroom. Showering and changing clothes will not be allowed. Patrons must arrive and leave in their swim suits.

Patrons will have to bring their own lounge chairs or a towel for the pool deck. The city says it will enforce six feet of separation along the pool deck for groups that aren’t family. No summer passes will be available and admission will be done on daily rates only. City resident rates are $2.75 for children, $4 for adults and $3 for seniors. Non-city resident rates are $3.25 for children, $5 for adults and $3.75 for seniors. Yearly memberships are prorated nonrefundable.

The skeet range will operate on normal hours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, the city said. Use will be limited to a maximum of 25 people at a time. City staff will be the only people allowed in the office. The building will be closed to the public. The city will provide a portable toilet for participants to use while at the facility.

On July 4, while the Independence Day fireworks will be shot from Freedom Park, the park will be closed, according to the release. The city says the location should allow for a larger number of citizens to view the fireworks from safe parking areas. There are large amounts of parking available near Freedom Park.

People should watch the fireworks from their cars while socially distancing themselves from surrounding groups, the city said. Due to restrictions, no concerts or festivities will be held. The event only will be a fireworks show.

There will be strict rules in place to help keep the community safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the city’s release said. The city will practice and enforce social distancing at all times. Throughout the day and multiple times per day, city staff will clean and disinfect common areas, dressing rooms and other equipment at city facilities.

Those who plan to use city facilities or watch the fireworks show must adhere to the rules in place.

For more information from the Morganton Parks and Recreation Department and details about all city recreation facilities, go to bit.ly/2MkMSUT.

Justin Epley can be reached at jepley@morganton.com.

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