San Diego County Parks
Live Oak County Park in Fallbrook. Photo via San Diego County

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to immediately open up county-owned parks for worship and fitness activities, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supervisor Dianne Jacob made the proposal, saying it will “lend a helping hand” to both religious facilities and gymnasiums or fitness-oriented businesses unable to hold indoor services under a state order issued last month.

Jacob said that restaurants have created outside dining areas on sidewalks and parking lots, in response to a ban on indoor dining, and now the county can be creative.

“Sometimes, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel for a successful operation,” Jacob said before the vote. “I appreciate the board’s support on this.”

Supervisors also voted to streamline the application process and waive permit fees for qualified applicants wanting to use park space.

Along with implementing guidelines for religious institutions and fitness groups, Chief Administrative Officer Helen Robbins-Meyer will also report back to supervisors within 90 days about fiscal impacts caused by fee waivers, according to information on the county agenda.

Last month, the Poway City Council voted to allow park usage for both fitness and worship activities. Jacob thanked Poway Mayor Steve Vaus for his leadership on the issue.

— City News Service