ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller says the city is about a month away from launching continued summer recreation and community center programs during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the city is cautioning parents to expect fewer available programs and participation spots.
Monday’s update came during Mayor Keller’s daily coronavirus news briefing at the Los Duranes Community Center in the North Valley near Rio Grande and Indian School Road.
“We’re going to be flexible during the COVID situational changes, we’re going to expand if things improve, and if things don’t improve, we’re going to stay pretty restricted,” Keller said.
The City of Albuquerque is aiming to open the bulk of its summer programs in June. In all, the says its aiming to hire about 1,000 employees. In the past, the programs have hired as many as 1,400 employees.
Those employees will undergo training on maintaining social distancing rules, the use of PPE and increased training about the importance of sanitization.
Mayor Keller said this year programs will be limited, estimating that the city will have about 25% of the number of programs it normally has. However, the mayor says they hope to get as many as 80% of the programs up and running, eventually.
Community Center Programs
Run by the city’s Department of Family and Community Service, programs at the city’s 22 community centers should open up for an online, lottery system next week from May 11 to May 15.
The city says it will draw winners on May 18. Those winners will have to register between May 20 and May 29. As of Monday, May 4, the Family & Community Services Department has set a tentative start date for community center programs for June 8.
Parks & Recreation Programs
The city announced Monday programs operated by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will “will operate at an abbreviated level, meaning smaller groups and different schedules.” Those restrictions are going to vary program to program with when registration begins and when classes begin.
One of the most popular summer programs, tennis lessons are looking at starting in August. The city says “outdoor adventure camps” will be restricted to four participants and may further be restricted based on “group transportation guidelines.”
Meanwhile, the city’s portable rock wall is expect to reopen with “limited staff” operations in July.
The Esperanza Community Bike Shop is expect to reopen with “limited” participants regulated by social distancing guidelines in place when facilities re-open. It’s unclear when that may occur.
The city says youth softball, soccer, rugby, flag football and lacrosse leagues seasons will depend on what their respective leagues decide.
Currently, the City of Albuquerque is hoping that pools could potentially open to the public during Memorial Day weekend, May 23, with reduced hours and reduced capacity. It’s unclear what “open swim” will look like this summer, however, swimming lessons will be reduced in size and are currently expect to begin in July.
“We’re getting a lot of health advice on swimming pools, and the key is the same, it’s limiting, keeping social distance, even if you’re in a pool, and it’s also limiting that overall capacity, we do want to mention that as with anything, because of the chlorine in the pools, that’s a good thing, so the water is not only safe, it’s safer,” Keller said.
Tentative Start Dates for Other Programs
- Summer lunch – expected to start June 1.
- Community Center programs – expected to start June 8.
- Cultural Services (BioPark, Museums) – registration expected to start May 16, start in June.
Other General Updates
The City of Albuquerque will be incrementally reopening Animal Welfare. Emergency intake will be available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Non-emergency intake will be available by appointment.
On Tuesday, May 5 COVID-19 testing will be available at the South Valley Health Commons by appointment only from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Call 505-873-7477 to schedule an appointment.
The New Mexico Health and City Services Department says that nursing facilities across the state are going to be able to share $46 million in Medicaid payments to help mitigate and control the spread of COVID-19 among employees and residents.
Green waste pickup starts on Monday, May 4. For no additional charge the city will pick up any green waste during residents normal waste collection day.