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Social distancing circles drawn on grass at San Francisco parks

Four San Francisco parks are being outfitted with social distancing circles to remind people to stay away from each other when they are outside during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ten-foot white circles, each eight feet apart, were painted on the grass of Mission Dolores Park on Wednesday, and Little Marina Green Picnic Area and Washington Square on Thursday. Crews were completing Jackson Playground on Friday.

The pilot program is similar to an effort implemented in Domino Park in Brooklyn, said Tamara Barak Aparton, spokeswoman for San Francisco Recreation and Parks.

“We wanted to have them in place before Memorial Day weekend in four different parts of the city to see how it went,” she said. “It’s going to be warm this weekend and we knew people would be out, so we thought it would be a good time to get feedback on whether this helps.”

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More than two-thirds of California’s 58 counties have received approval to more quickly reopen as the state continues to loosen coronavirus-related restrictions.

There was no extra cost associated with the project because the circles were drawn in field paint using crews and equipment that would normally be painting sports fields, Aparton said.

“There are no organized sports right now because of the shelter in place order, and so we just kind of repurposed the equipment and staff that normally does that to paint these social distancing circles instead,” she said.

The popular Mission Dolores Park, in particular, has been a draw for crowds, even during stay-at-home orders. Earlier this month, San Francisco Mayor London Breed threatened to shut down the park if visitors didn’t start following social distancing rules.

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So far, visitors to parks where there are circles seem to be using them correctly, Aparton said Friday. If they continue to prove successful, the markings could be expanded to more parks in the city.

“Like masks and signage, we hope the circles will serve as another visual reminder to use our parks safely by social distancing,” Aparton said.


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