TONKA BAY — Cities in the Lake Minnetonka area are asking residents to practice social distancing and avoid gathering in groups in parks during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

For the most part, parks, trails and areas of green space are open for residents to get outside and enjoy amid Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order. However, cities have closed or are requesting residents not to play on playground equipment or use benches or picnic tables because the surfaces are not sanitized.

The health of the community “depends upon each person being committed to doing the right thing – and using parks and trails responsibly,” a recent email from the city of Plymouth said.

Cities are also requesting people not participate in group sports like basketball, soccer, Frisbee and pickleball, and to not touch shared sports equipment, according to an email from the city of Tonka Bay.

Tonka Bay did list some activities people are welcome to participate in, so long as they practice social distancing and remain at least six feet apart. Those activities include: waking, biking, running, Rollerblading, coloring with chalk, playing hopscotch, hiking, flying a kite, jumping rope, fishing and enjoying nature.

Meanwhile, city parks, as well as Three Rivers Park District and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources have closed some buildings and facilities amid the pandemic.

Melissa Turtinen is the community editor for Lakeshore Weekly News and Eden Prairie News. She's passionate about adding context to stories and informing people about what's going on in their community. She enjoys being outside, traveling and good beer.

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