Parks closed

Taylor city officials are close to setting a plan on how the city can reopen local facilities.

On Sept. 2, the Taylor City Council gave direction on a city reopening plan drafted by staff. The plan was presented after an update from the Williamson County and Cities Health District on COVID-19 and the group's own guidance on criteria for reopening.

The plan addresses several areas such as municipal buildings, events, masks and more. Non-city related facilities or events are still under the jurisdiction of Gov. Greg Abbott's recent orders, which address items such as business capacities and closures.

Based on the draft, the plan is divided into four phases representing different levels of community transmission. Green represents a minimal risk of transmission. Yellow is moderate, red is high, and black is very high and uncontrolled.

According to the WCCHD, Williamson County could reach a phase that matches yellow on Taylor's measurement scale as early as next week. However, health district representatives advised caution as schools continue to reopen, sports resume and Labor Day gatherings might take place.

Wednesday night's discussion eventually focused on determining which facilities should be open under which phase. In the plan draft, most parks and recreation facilities currently closed would reopen when switching from the red to yellow phase. However, if local cases spike and put Taylor back in a red phase, the draft called for those facilities to close again.

The council made suggestions about which facilities might remain open if the county re-enters a red phase, such as tennis courts and other areas where social distancing is more viable. WCCHD officials also noted that their guidance criteria was still to be finalized on Friday.

"The message to the public tonight is that we will have a reopening plan based on gating criteria in place after the Labor Day weekend," said Mayor Brandt Rydell, "and hopefully at that point, Williamson County will find itself in the moderate community transmission phase, which will mean the vast majority of our park facilities will be open and available for folks.

Read more details in this Sunday's edition of the Taylor Press.

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