City enacts curfew, temporarily closes Falls Park to prevent gatherings

On Monday, March 23, the City of Greenville took additional steps designed to protect citizens, urge social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

City Manager John McDonough temporarily closed Falls Park following reports of pick-up basketball and volleyball games in City parks and socializing along Main Street over the weekend. People are still allowed to walk along sidewalks and trails but are urged to “keep moving.”

“Unfortunately, there are people in our community who do not understand the severity of the circumstances and are ignoring the recommendations of health professionals,” said McDonough. “We know that this has been a trying time for our citizens, but the only way to avoid extreme measures here is to take it upon ourselves to stay at home, and go out only to purchase groceries and supplies, seek medical attention or maintain a healthy lifestyle through solitary exercise in open, outdoor spaces.”

At its formal meeting Monday night, City Council approved an emergency ordinance to adopt a temporary curfew from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. in the Central Business District, which will be in effect beginning at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. The ordinance does not apply to individuals going to work or those with medical emergencies. The ordinance will expire on its own after 60 days.

“In ordinary times, we would expect and encourage our residents and visitors to spend time enjoying our parks and socializing downtown, but these are extraordinary times. We cannot be casual about the consequences of spreading this virus,” Mayor Knox White said. “It’s been a little over a week since we took our first steps to address this public health crisis and the goal is the same as it was then, to keep COVID-19 from overtaking our community, by creating social distance.”

Monday morning the City closed tennis, basketball and volleyball courts at all City parks. Additionally, due to concerns about the use of outdoor seating areas to congregate, the City requested that downtown businesses with outdoor café areas remove all chairs from the public space by Wednesday, March 25 at 8 a.m. (tables can remain). The City will remove seating from its public areas and will post signage in parks and public plazas to discourage gatherings.​