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NCRPA response to COVID-19

NCRPA Recommendations for Re-Opening Local Parks in North Carolina


NRPA Path to Recovery Information


NRPA Phased Reopening Planning – Gradually Restoring Operations to Protect Public Health

Summary for Reopening P&R Facilities & Programs from RRS & NCRPA 


Last Updated 9.21.2020 - revised to include more sports

Last Updated 9.15.2020 - updated to add language in moderate section to play outdoors, if possible. Moved doubles tennis to moderate

Last Updated 9.12.2020 

Last Updated 9.3.2020 

Last Updated 9.1.2020 -Safer At Home 2.5 - effective Friday, 9/4 at 5pm.  Executive Order 163.  Copy of Executive Order 163 with highlights of P&R areas. 

  • Mass Gathering Limits increase: 25 for inside spaces and 50 for outside spaces
  • Playgrounds may open. Agencies are encouraged to complete a safety inspection of the playground and surrounding areas prior to opening since most have been sitting idle since March.
  • Fitness Centers & Gyms can operate at 30% capacity.  Review guidance
  • Museums & Aquariums can operate at 50% capacity. Review guidance.
  • Large venues are still subject to mass gathering limits.
  • No changes to recommendations for contact sports. More spectators are allowed at approved sports under mass gathering guidelines as noted above.
  • Continuing posting signs regarding the 3 W’s (Wear, Wash and Wait) at your facilities. Find signs here.

Last Updated 8.28.2020 - DHHS has provided the following documents for Community Based Organizations (CBO) offering child care / remote learning.

Last Updated 8.10.2020

Last Updated 6.10.2020 - Supplementary Guidance for Sporting Events Held in Outdoor Facilities    

Last Updated 5.22.2020 - The FAQ for Executive Order 141 can be viewed here.  A copy of the FAQ with areas highlighted that may pertain to Parks & Recreation can be viewed here

Last Updated 5.20.2020 - Per Executive Order 141 that is effective 5.22.20 at 5pm, there are a some Interim Guidance from DHHS:  A copy of Executive Order 141 with areas highlighted that may pertain to Parks & Recreation can be viewed here

Last Updated 5.15.2020 - CDC has now released its official high level decision tools for a variety of settings including childcare, youth programs and summer camps, and workplaces.  Recommendations from NRPA

Decision Tools for Schools and Child Care Programs:

Decision Tools for Business and Workplaces:

Last Updated 5.14.2020 - Update on Senior Games in NC.  Read the statement here

Last Updated 5.13.2020 - From NC DHHS: 

  • Water Systems and Reopening Buildings - Many buildings are closed to the public or have limited access in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. As a result, large buildings with complex water systems such as hotels, dormitories and some recreational facilities may have had reduced water use for extended time periods.  Reduction in water use can lead to stagnant water, which can increase the risk for growth of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.  Owners and operators of buildings with complex water systems should take steps now to assure that building water and water systems are safe to use and minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease and other disease associated with water.  NC DHHS urges owners and operators of buildings with complex water systems to read and follow the CDC’s Guidance for Building Water Systems.

Last Updated 5.8.2020 
Video from Coronavirus Q&A 5.7.2020.   At 27:32, watch the question and response about parks, pools and playgrounds. Watch here

Last Updated 5.7.2020 

  • Executive Order 138 outlines information for parks beginning on page 6.  Read the document here
  • Video from Coronavirus Q&A  on 5.6.2020.   At 16:20, watch the question and response about offering youth sports. Watch here  

Last Updated 5.6.2020 - Day Camps are allowed under the new Executive Order as long as they follow the CDC guidelines.  The details from NC DHHS can be viewed here

Last Updated 5.5.2020

Last Updated 4.23.2020 - USTA released updated guidelines as it relates to tennis courts.  The release can be viewed here


Last Updated 4.13.2020 - CDC releases Guidance for Administrators in Parks and Recreational Facilities.  View it here


Per the Executive Order issued on Friday 3/27 by Governor Cooper, all playgrounds are to close on Monday 3/30 at 5pm and remained closed for 30 days unless extended.  See the details on page 3 - highlighted area.  NRPA has issued a statement of closing playgrounds/play structures that can be viewed here


The North Carolina Recreation and Park Association (NCRPA) is following the evolving novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in our state, across the country and the world.  NCRPA staff is closely monitoring the situation to determine how and when it may affect various events this spring. NCRPA is following the CDC employer response recommendations for our office as well as NCRPA-sponsored events. The best way to reach our team is via email and we will do our best to follow up with voicemails left on our office line.

The team at NCRPA is working to support our members through information sharing, online resources and alternative means of delivery for workshops and events so members can continue their professional development and earn CEUs.  As the situation evolves and we learn more, we will work on updating members on possible changes to future workshops, events, and meetings. The health, wellness, and safety of our members and the communities they serve are important to all of us at NCRPA. Please feel free to visit this page for updates.

P&R Agency information: NCRPA is collecting information on closings, planning and staffing as it relates to parks and recreation.  You can view the file here.  Changes to this information are accepted from agency directors or their representative.  Please do not request permission to edit the file, we are keeping it closed so it can be viewed by all.  

4.20.2020 - Tennis Courts: USTA recommends we take a take a collective pause from playing. The full statement can be viewed here.

3.30.2020 - Playgrounds: The Governor's Executive Order that went into effect at 5pm on 3/30 closes all public and private playgrounds.   See the highlighted area on page 3.  NRPA released this information about closing playgrounds. Read the statement here.

3.30.2020 - Certification Extensions:  NRPA notified those with CPRP, CPRE, CPSI and AFO certifications with upcoming renewal deadlines that extensions can be requested.  All individuals impacted by this extension should have received notification from NRPA on 3/30. If you have questions, contact NRPA Certification Manager Molly Sullivan at 

NCRPA Workshop and Events Changes (Updated 8.10.20):

  • 2020 SWAC Basketball Tournament is canceled, with the hope to offer an alternative to be offered later in the year. 

  • Remainder of 2020 Conferences and Workshops to be offered Online
    During the remainder of 2020, all NCRPA events including the Parks & Recreation Conference, Athletic Directors Workshop, Supervisors Workshop, CPSI, and other professional development offerings will be held virtually. We are already exploring platforms to bring you the high-quality educational experiences you expect from NCRPA. On behalf of the NCRPA Board of Directors and Staff, we look forward to learning with you during the remainder of 2020, supporting you with professional development, and keeping you informed and connected as we navigate our current situation. 

  • NCRPA’s Racial Equity Learning Cohorts  for October and November has been moved to an online format. 

Webinars: NCRPA will be offering weekly webinars  and Virtual Round-Tables to keep member connected.  Members can access them at 

We also know many of our members are having the same conversations with their teams and stakeholders across the towns, counties, and regions they serve. Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Departments serve communities in various capacities from after school, athletics, senior centers, aquatics, special events and more. Additionally, many parks and recreation departments are vital to emergency management response by providing support through physical space, resources, and staff capacity.  NCRPA will work to support our members as we all do our best to remain healthy.

Corona Virus in Parks and Open Space: Concerns about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak continue to grip our nation. NC Recreation & Park Association (NCRPA) is joining the National Recreation and Park Association(NRPA) in joint statement on using parks and open space while maintaining social distancing.  As organizations who support the power of parks and open spaces as essential resources for health and wellness, we understand that people may have questions and concerns about visiting their local parks, trails or open spaces at this time.

We believe that many parks, trails and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits these spaces provide. In all instances, we recommend people follow local, state and national ordinances and guidelines regarding the use of these spaces and recognize that these vary from community to community.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) put together a variety of resources that can be found  here:   

Additionally, the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC) is continuing to share updated information on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services also has resources available here:

As efforts are built to combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in U.S. communities, the N.C. League of Municipalities has assembled the following list of resources here:

The North Carolina Association of County Commissioners is providing information and resources here:

NCRPA Press Releases: