Citing “complete control” over the Covid-19 pandemic situation in Pune city, Mayor Murlidhar Mohol said on Monday that all public gardens and parks will be open for public from November 1, with certain regulations in place.
“City gardens and parks, closed for almost seven months, will be reopened on November 1. An official order will be issued soon… the Covid-19 situation is under control, and gardens and parks will be reopened with certain regulations,” he said.
“The decision was taken in a meeting with the municipal commissioner… local residents have cooperated with the civic administration in the last seven months, so the infection has come completely under control,” he said.
The mayor said a team from the central government has reviewed the situation in the city and warned that a second wave of infections was likely in December and January. “Local residents will have to take appropriate care while visiting gardens and parks. If proper precautionary steps are taken by everyone, then we would be able to keep in check a possible second wave in the future,” said the BJP leader.
However, Ashok Ghorpade, in-charge of PMC Garden department, said “We have not received any administrative orders so far. We will act as per the order issued by the municipal commissioner.”
Another senior civic officer said that gardens and park were kept closed — even though the PMC had allowed other public places like malls, restaurants and markets to open — as most visitors to parks are either children or the elderly, who have been urged to stay indoors during the pandemic. “The opening up of gardens and parks may be a cause of concern as it has several common shared spaces such as benches, open gym equipment, drinking water facility, public toilets and playing area for children,” he said.
The officer pointed out that the civic staff at the gardens and parks would not be able to ascertain the age of the visitors, young or old, and would largely have to go by whatever the local residents claim.
The PMC had earlier opened some gardens and parks in the city on June 3, despite criticism from Mohol over the decision, but was forced to close them within two weeks, after multiple violations of norms by visitors were reported.
Back then, the civic body had opened only 33 of the total 204 gardens and parks outside containment zones, for two hours in the morning and evening.
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