(Photo courtesy of LARPD)

The Livermore Area Recreation and Park District’s Board of Directors has declared a state of emergency to make it easier for the district to respond to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The board ratified the declaration at a special meeting March 25 in response to the Alameda County Public Health Department confirming evidence of community transmission in the county. As of Saturday, Alameda County public health officials have confirmed 240 cases of the virus, including six deaths.

The district has already closed its indoor and outdoor facilities and canceled its programs, classes, special events and after-school programs in an effort to prevent spreading the coronavirus. Residents are also encouraged to practice social distancing at Livermore’s parks that remain open.

“We understand the impact and benefit of getting outside, experiencing nature and exercise as essential to the physical and mental well-being of individuals and communities,” District General Manager Mathew Fuzie and Board Chair Jan Palajac wrote last Wednesday in an open letter to the community. “We are dedicated to keeping our parks and open spaces open and available as long as we are able to safely.”

In addition to keeping parks open at this time, the district will also continue providing Monday-through-Friday lunch service to seniors through its collaboration with Open Heart Kitchen. Lunches will be served “to-go” only.

Information about the district and Livermore’s parks and open areas can be found at larpd.org.