GUSTINE - The city’s parks are open again, but officials are expressing concern that users - particularly those of athletic fields - are not adhering to restrictions which prohibit games and limit gatherings to no more than 10 people.

“We want to try to keep the parks open, but we want everybody to respect each other’s space and not have baseball games with 20 or 30 people out there,” said City Manager Doug Dunford.

Some groups contacted have professed to be from the same family, he said, but even if that is the case if those present are from different households “that’s a problem.”

Dunford said the city has sent out letters advising regular users of park athletic facilities of the restrictions.

Larger gatherings have not been an issue on the Jensen Road soccer fields, he noted.

But groups have been congregating in Schmidt Park, Dunford told Mattos Newspapers.

“We’re trying to educate (groups) and let them know that it is not okay yet,” he explained. “We are seeing spikes (in COVID-19 cases) all around us where people have started congregating. We don’t want to be one of those spikes.”

Police officers are being asked to contact groups that they see in violation, Dunford said.

The emphasis is on gaining compliance through education, he commented, but if need be police can begin handing out citations. No citations had been issued as of last Thursday, he said.

“We don’t want to be heavy-handed. We are hoping that everybody will continue to be cooperative and work through this together,” Dunford stated. “We want to try to keep the parks open. We don’t want a few people wrecking it for everybody else.”