Fruitland splash pad

Seven-year-old Weiser resident Logan Holmes, in the orange shirt at far right, gazes skyward as he enjoys some of the higher-arching streams of water coming down on the periphery of the newly opened splash pad at Fruitland’s downtown park.

FRUITLAND — The novel coronavirus COVID-19 restrictions may be starting to ease in Idaho, but in keeping with Gov. Brad Little’s Stages of Rebound plan, the City of Fruitland is holding off turning on the splash pads at city parks.

According to the city’s plans, activation of the splash pads would not occur until stage four which is tentatively scheduled for June 12-26.

Per Little’s order, progressing to each stage is subject to testing and infection rates and if an upward trend of the virus occurs, the next phase would be delayed. Idaho entered stage two of the plan on Saturday.

City Administrator Rick Watkins in an email on May 14 wrote the concern is that there’s no guarantee users of the splash pad would keep their distance from one another.

“The thought is there is no way of regulating the actual numbers of people that may be using the splash pads or congregating to watch at any time. If so, we would have to provide personnel to monitor the social distancing aspects,” said Watkins. “The splash pads are easy to control; we just don’t activate the water systems.”

That’s not to say kids can’t still go on the swings and slides; Watkins said the city’s simply telling folks to know the risks.

“We have only recommended people be wary of using the playground equipment. Use has not been banned. Same with the picnic shelters. We have never said don’t use them; we’ve only decided not to ‘reserve’ them for anyone so as not to encourage groups from getting together.”

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