The COVID – 19 pandemic presented not only a global health crisis but also disrupted the daily lives of Gray residents. Between the stay at home orders, physical distancing, closure of many businesses and a variety of other restrictions, the impact was substantial.

Gray Recreation closed its doors by mid– March to all recreational programs and events and remained closed pretty much through the end of May. Many employees were furloughed at this time being deemed non-essential. Recreation took on a whole new meaning to people.

Group activities, indoor activities, no contact sports and special events were cancelled. Any activity had to follow very strict and specific safety guidelines that were recommended by State and Federal entities.

By June of 2020, activities such as child care, summer camp were considered critically needed in order to get parents back to work. The phrase “ mask up” was implemented any-time you were going to get within six feet of someone else.

The one bright spot ( if you could call it that) was that people starting to get outside and recreate where open air activities were accepted as safe. Hiking, walking, biking, camping and other outdoor recreation exploded. Businesses that provided the means to do this were very successful. These activities provided an important means of copying with the stress.

So, in short, we all have to treat the corona virus outbreak with the prudence and seriousness that natural disasters or infectious diseases call for. The “ new norm” included following CDC recommendations, proper hygiene, wearing a mask and staying home with family ( not a bad thing!).

Hopefully, 2021 sees a new light at the end of the tunnel and we can partially resume
providing recreation to the fine people of Gray.

Submitted by Dean M. Bennett
Gray Parks & Recreation Director
September 23, 2020