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For Immediate Release
News Date: May 21, 2020

Play Safe, Live Smart: Columbus Recreation and Parks Summer Plans


COLUMBUS, OH – Columbus Recreation and Parks Department continues to place priority in keeping Columbus residents safe and healthy during the public health emergency.  With guidance from Columbus Public Health and the Ohio Department of Health, the department is moving forward with opening select programming to provide Columbus individuals and families recreational opportunities for the summer.  

“We are incredibly encouraged by last week’s announcement from Governor Mike DeWine, which provided guidelines for childcare, summer youth programming and camps.  Columbus Recreation and Parks has been working diligently to develop safety protocols to provide opportunities for young people, and we are excited to announce our plans for the summer. As is the case with all COVID-19-related decisions, the health, safety and well-being of our residents is our first priority,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther.

The department has adapted many of its program offerings and prepared many of its facilities to ensure the safety of residents and staff. Below are updates as of May 21, 2020: 

  • A number of summer programs, camps and classes will be offered beginning June 15 with adjusted group sizes and formats. The department has developed strict safety protocols to protect the health of residents and staff. Families who already have registered for programming will be contacted with additional information. If any registered family doesn’t feel comfortable participating in programming, they can withdraw and receive a full refund. 
  • The department’s two signature summer events–Jazz & Ribs Fest and the African American Cultural Festival–have been canceled due to mass gathering requirements from the Ohio Department of Health. The department looks forward to hosting these events in 2021. 

“Columbus Recreation and Parks serves as an important resource for our community. We will continue to work hard to restore access to as many of our programs and facilities as safely possible,” said Paul Rakosky, director of Columbus Recreation and Parks. “As things continue to evolve, we will vigorously monitor the status of our programs and apply new guidance to ensure the safety of our community and staff.”

The status of additional programs and facilities is listed below:

  • The department is the largest summer food provider in Ohio and continues to work with key partners across the city to ensure the essential need of providing healthy and nutritious meals to kids under age 18 this summer will continue during this challenging time. The summer meal program, commonly known as Go Lunch!, will continue.
  • The city’s golf courses are open for seasonal play. Golfers are encouraged to review the additional safety protocols the department has put in place to ensure the safety of the public and staff.  
  • Marinas and docks for recreational access to the city’s waterways are open. It is important all residents follow social distancing guidelines and wear cloth masks or face coverings while participating in recreational activities where possible.
  • Columbus parks and trails remain open. Additionally, all public playgrounds, basketball courts and public recreational equipment are closed. This includes recreational equipment like outdoor exercise gyms, picnic tables and sporting equipment. Recent guidance included the reopening of racket sports, and the department will begin installing the nets on tennis and pickleball courts, which will likely take several weeks to complete. 

Columbus Recreation and Parks remains focused on connecting residents to nature, wellness and creativity, and will adjust programming and resources to ensure it aligns with the health and safety recommendations from the Ohio Department of Health and Columbus Public Health.


For additional resources and information about COVID-19, visit Columbus Public Health, Ohio Department of Health or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, Ohio residents with specific questions related to COVID-19 can also call 833-4-ASK-ODH (833-427-5634). For the latest department information and updates, visit or call 614-645-3300 (and select option 3). Additional information regarding department summer camps and programming will be available on the department website listed above at 3:30PM EST.