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Certain recreational facilities in North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro that had been closed reopened for public use at 5 p.m. Friday as a result of Gov. Roy Cooper’s order Tuesday relaxing COVID-19-related restrictions.

Reopening dates vary among Ys in the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina system, but the Wilkes Family YMCA in Wilkesboro and the Statesville Y will reopen Tuesday. Their hours will be 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; and closed on Sundays. The Alexander and Yadkin county YMCAs will reopen Sept. 14.

According to the area Y system’s website, the limited hours are related to current staffing levels, plus closing in the middle of week days will allow time for staff to clean facilities. “We will constantly monitor usage at each Y and determine if the hours need to be updated,” said a Y spokesman.

The spokesman said outdoor group and virtual exercise classes are continuing to help reduce the number of people inside YMCAs, but the Y Child Watch/Kids Zone isn’t available now due to staffing needs. Y swimming pools are open. More details on the reopening plans are at https://ymcanwnc.org/reopening.

Public and commercial gyms and indoor fitness centers can operate at 30% capacity under Cooper’s new order. Museums can reopen at 50% capacity and the Wilkes Heritage Museum is reopening Saturday.

All municipal playgrounds, picnic shelters and basketball courts in Wilkesboro’s Cub Creek Park and elsewhere in town that were closed are now open, said Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland.

Crowds at ballfields were restricted to 25 people but the new limit 50 under Cooper’s revised restrictions. Noland said signs announcing this are being posted.

North Wilkesboro Town Manager Wilson Hooper said Memorial Park baseball fields are still available for individual and family use and for team practice sessions. He said they still can’t be used for games. The park’s barbecue pits are available for reserving parties with additional safety requirements in place.

Smoot Park playgrounds, basketball courts, skateboard park and small picnic shelters will open for general use starting at 5 p.m. today. Smoot Park’s large shelter/pavilion will be available by reservation only for groups of less than 50. The Smoot Park pool is closed for the season.

The Wilkes County Farmers Market is still open from 7:30 a.m. to noon each Saturday and from 3:30-5:30 p.m. each Tuesday at the Yadkin Valley Market Place along the Central Business District Loop in downtown North Wilkesboro. Woodlawn Recreation Center on Second Street remains closed, said Hooper.

Hooper said public access to North Wilkesboro Town Hall still isn’t allowed and staff working there are available by appointment only. Visitors to town hall must wear face masks. Town administration and finance staff are still available by appointment only by calling 336-667-7129. Staff will conduct business by phone and virtually when able.

North Wilkesboro commissioner meetings are still being held at the Stone Family Center for Performing Arts to allow space for social distancing. Hooper said people wishing to attend public meetings there will be asked to wear masks. He said most meetings are being broadcast online for remote viewing.

Cooper said in a press conference Tuesday that he was pleased with how trends and metrics have stabilized overall across the state, despite the recent rise in clusters on college campuses. He also cited what he called emerging science showing that the new coronavirus doesn't spread as easily on surfaces and instead is more often spread by respiratory droplets.

Cooper said bars remain closed. The revised restrictions will be in place until Oct. 2. Coopers latest directives are at  Executive Order 163 here.

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