The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has and is changing just about every aspect of people’s lives, and on Thursday, May 28, Guilford County made it known that one thing that would be changing this summer is the way county residents use the parks.

One big – and sad – announced change, the annual “July 3rd Fireworks Extravaganza,” held at Northeast Park each year, is being canceled due to the coronavirus crisis.   That show usually brings in people from all over the county, and even nearby counties, but no one will be able to enjoy it this year.

Guilford County Parks Division Director Christopher Horrigan stated in a press release Thursday that this was a necessary but unfortunate turn of events. He said staff is now working toward the 2021 show of explosions in the sky.

“Each year, county park staff put their heart into creating an outstanding event,” he noted. “This year it was clear we would not be able to maintain the level of service at our annual fireworks experience that the public deserves, while protecting community health and being good steward[s] of county dollars. We understand how much this event means to the local community, and are enthusiastic about incorporating the improvements planned for this year into our 2021 Fireworks Extravaganza at Northeast Park”.

Guilford County announced other changes as well. All meeting and special event centers, at Bur-Mil Park, Hagan-Stone Park and Northeast Park, will remain closed for now.

On the other hand, shelter rentals – which will now have a maximum allowable capacity of 25 guests – will resume starting Saturday, May 30.

Also, the Hagan-Stone Park campground will reopen on Monday, June 1.

Park playgrounds will remain closed, however athletic fields and courts will be open for general use or training. Those who, like some Rhino Times staff, enjoy shooting basketball outdoors, are still out of luck because when the county says “courts” will open, that doesn’t include basketball courts. While there’s nothing at all dangerous about someone going out and shooting basketball alone, county parks staff are likely concerned about pickup games since players generally have to get within six feet of each other to play effective defense.

For the other courts, “play, practices, and games will remain prohibited.”

But, on the other hand, if you like to swim – sorry, just kidding; you too are out of luck. Park aquatic centers will remain closed until further notice.

Guilford County parks, trails, and open spaces will remain open with modified hours. County officials are reminding hikers and bikers to continue to practice social distancing while out in nature.