STINGRAY BAY UPDATE
Monday May 18, 2020
The Huntley Park District is committed to providing accessible parks, programs, open space and facilities for healthy activities, creative expression and learning opportunities in order to enhance the quality of life for district residents and visitors. The Park District continues to monitor the COVID-19 public health pandemic and will make operational modifications and adjustments to comply with the current Executive Order and anticipated Restore Illinois Phases.
On April 30, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker signed Executive Order No. 2020-32 extending the stay-at-home restrictions statewide through May 30.
On May 5, 2020 Governor Pritzker released the regional, five-phased “Restore Illinois” plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold during the current public health situation. This plan calls for public gatherings to be limited to a maximum of 10 individuals until further notice, and subsequently limited to a maximum of 50 individuals until a vaccine or highly effective treatment is widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period. These limits on the size of public gatherings will make some Park District operations difficult at best, and in many cases impossible.
The Huntley Park District believes, and hopes, that there will be a wide variety of summer programming that can be modified to fit within the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) guidelines for the summer 2020 season. The District will make every effort to modify these programs to comply; however, the operation of Stingray Bay Family Aquatic Center is not one of them. While we have specific expertise in providing safe, clean, family-friendly facilities and programs, the HPD staff are not experts regarding communicable diseases and will therefore defer to public health experts for guidance.
The CDC currently advises park users to not use splashpads, water playgrounds, or water park features and other frequently touched recreation equipment. At this time, Stingray Bay Pool is a large venue and cannot open until Phase 5 of the plan, which at best is August.
Facilities like Stingray Bay require a significant number of staff members present at all times of operation, additionally complicating the “large gatherings” restriction. It also presents a challenge in training staff who must complete skills that involve direct and close contact with others, and this simply cannot be done while maintaining physical distancing. With other restrictions, amenities such as the water slides, diving board, and other conveniences such as lounge chairs would either have to be closed, cleaned at an unreasonable intervals, or sitting spaces may have to be removed all together to meet these guidelines.
All these mitigating factors as well as financial considerations have led the Huntley Park District to the conclusion of cancelling the 2020 summer swim season at Stingray Bay Family Aquatic Center. This announcement comes after informed discussions with other legislative agencies, professional organizations specializing in such matters and review of available details from IDPH, CDC and the State of Illinois.
The HPD staff will miss having community members and visitors at the Stingray Bay Family Aquatic Center but look forward to seeing you at other activities that will be offered this summer. The HPD staff will be waiting for you in the future when a safe experience can be provided.
Stay safe and be well.