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Equipment is removed from Lathrop parks due to deter group gathering
park close

It just got a lot harder to play organized outdoor sports in Lathrop.

This week the City of Lathrop announced that it had taken the additional steps of removing the rims from all city basketball courts, taken down volleyball nets, shuttered tennis courts, and closed all athletic fields as a way to deter people from gathering during the stay-at-home order issued by California’s governor – an order that is becoming increasingly more stringent as the state grapples with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The move was just the latest in a series of steps that the city has taken to deter people from using city facilities to occupy their time during the pandemic shutdown – which has left all but essential businesses open and forced many people to work from home rather than in the offices that they’re used to.

While the move was an escalation from the announcement last week that the city was closing all play structures and courts to the public, the development stopped short of barring people from entering or passing through city parks – still giving residents the opportunity to walk or jog through parks for exercise purposes.

Lathrop Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal said that he hopes the step will send a message about the seriousness of the issue.

“Some equipment from the parks has been taken out of service temporarily,” Dhaliwal said. “Please continue to practice social distancing while outdoors.

“We need everyone’s cooperation to slow and stop the spread of this virus.”

San Joaquin County now has 178 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 10 people have died in the county from the virus – a number that is rapidly approaching the number of people who have been killed this flu season in San Joaquin County. Through the end of February, 11 people had been killed by various strains of influenza in the county before Coronavirus fears began to skyrocket once cases appeared in California and began spreading through communities.

The city has taken the unique step of activating it’s emergency operations command – consisting of City Manager Steve Salvatore, Fire Chief Gene Neely, and Police Chief Ryan Biedermann – to try and get a handle on the city’s response to the pandemic as more and more people are being asked to stay home rather than coming into work.

The city itself has sent home many of its workers as it works to keep local government open for residents during the time of crisis, and both Lathrop Police and the Lathrop Manteca Fire District are working diligently to maintain supplies of personal protective equipment to keep first responders safe when responding to calls and interacting with individuals that may be infected.

“The COVID-19 virus is no joke,” Salvatore said. “Respecting social distancing guidelines saves lives – including your own.”

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.