Parks COVID-19 Response

The health and safety of the county's residents and staff members are our highest priority. As such, we are closely monitoring developments around the Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) and sharing safeguards and best practices as outlined by federal health authorities and state and local officials.

Here's what we're doing

March 31, 2020

To reduce the risks of people using shared surfaces, which the virus may remain on for hours or days, Milwaukee County Parks is locking facilities including tennis courts and basketball whenever possible. 

March 25, 2020

The Wisconsin Stay Safe at Home Order went into effect at 8am on March 25 and will remain in place until April 24. Any additional rentals and special events in County parks prior to April 24 will be cancelled. Parks and trails will remain open for walking and biking, as long as social distancing requirements are followed. No team or contact sports will be permitted in parks. Milwaukee County Parks will continue to operate with minimum staffing levels, this includes operations staff providing essential maintenance, security and safety staff patrolling parks and support staff telecommuting whenever possible.

March 20, 2020

As part of our continued efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19 all playgrounds in Milwaukee County Parks have been closed. Signage is currently being posted at Milwaukee County Park playgrounds. Studies have shown that the COVID-19 virus can remain on plastic and metal surfaces for several days. While we recognize these closures are disappointing and inconvenient, they are essential to support the health of our community at this time. Thanks for your understanding.

March 17, 2020

As we're currently operating with a limited team, voice mails at the main parks phone number will not be monitored. Please use our email contact form to reach a staff member. https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Contact

March 16, 2020

A press conference on additional County responses was held at 6pm. It is available to view here: https://www.wisn.com/article/milwaukee-part-of-dine-in-ban-for-10-cities-and-municipalities-in-milwaukee-county/31685914

Milwaukee County Parks will close all golf courses, club houses and Disc Golf effective March 17, 2020. All dog parks will also be closed and locked until further notice.

Parks staff, where able, have switched to telecommuting. Some departments will be operating with a reduced team and may take longer to respond to queries. Staff who need to look after dependents and are unable to work are able to take paid sick leave.

Park rentals, special events and organized sports activities through April 17, 2020 have been cancelled. Reservations are currently being taken for events that take place after May 15, 2020.

While information is continuing to evolve, Parks also recommends avoiding use of playgrounds at this time. Signage will be posted to serve as a reminder.

March 15, 2020

Starting Monday, March 16, the Parks Administration building on Watertown Plank Road will be closed to the public. The majority of parks staff will be telecommuting when possible and will still be available by email or through our contact form at https://county.milwaukee.gov/EN/Parks/Contact

March 14, 2020

Out of an abundance of caution, Milwaukee County today will take immediate preventative steps to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Effective immediately, the Milwaukee County Zoo, Milwaukee County Parks facilities and Milwaukee County Senior Centers will be closed to the public until further notice. 

The majority of Milwaukee County Parks public venues will close until further notice and public events, rentals, and programs scheduled to be held at these venues have also been canceled. Closed facilities include: Mitchell Park Domes, Noyes Indoor Pool, Pulaski Indoor Pool, King Community Center, Kosciusko Community Center, Milwaukee County Sports Complex, Wehr Nature Center visitor center, Boerner Botanical Gardens Visitor Center, Wilson Recreation Center & Ice Arena, and Wil-O-Way facilities at Grant and Underwood. 

“The health and safety of our community and staff members are our highest priority,” Parks Executive Director Guy Smith said. “We want to remind people that Parks remain a healthy support in this situation. People may practice social distancing and healthy habits while enjoying their parks, and the department will do our best to keep outdoor park facilities accessible to the public during this challenging time.”

Parks, trails, and outdoor amenities including dog parks, disc golf courses and self-pay golf courses will remain open. The Grant Golf Course and pro shop will also remain open. Parks operations staff will continue to maintain parks and facilities as needed and the Park Rangers will continue to patrol parks. Horticulture staff will continue to tend to the plants and animals at the Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center.

March 13, 2020

Senior leadership staff at Milwaukee County Parks are meeting throughout the day to determine additional action.

Milwaukee County Sports Complex is currently closed to the public. All events at the sports complex have been cancelled for at least five days.

The Winters Farmers Market and the Spring Equinox event planned for this weekend at the Mitchell Park Domes have been canceled. 

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele issued a proclamation on Friday, March 13 declaring a local public health emergency due to coronavirus.

March 12, 2020

Governor Tony Evers has declared a public health emergency for the state of Wisconsin. More details of Wisconsin's response is available at https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/disease/covid-19.htm

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends that all non-essential gatherings of 250 or more people be cancelled or postponed statewide to help protect Wisconsinites from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease.  DHS supports the decisions of any event organizers that elect to cancel or postpone events with less than 250 attendees in order to protect their communities.  Organizers should consider the following:

  • Potential for attendance from older adults, individuals with underlying health care conditions, or other vulnerable groups
  • Potential for attendance from individuals from a wide range of geographic areas across Wisconsin, the United States, or other countries
  • The setting of the event, particularly if it involves sustained interaction between attendees in close physical proximity

Cancelled events 

March 21, 2020. Winter Farmers Market at Mitchell Park Domes 

Mar 2-23 Sap to Syrup! Urban Ecology Center

March 15, 2020. Spring Equinox Celebration, Mitchell Park Domes 

March 28, 2020. Easter Egg-citment, Koscisuzko Community Center

March 28 Humboldt Park Easter Egg Hunt

April 4, South Shore Marathon, various parks

April 4 Cooper Park Neighborhood Association: Easter in the Park 

April 4 Friends of Wedgewood Park: Easter Egg Hunt 

April 4, Bunny in the Park

April 4, Washington Heights Neighborhood Association: WHNA Easter Egg Hunt 

April 4, TETNA: Spring Egg Hunt 

April 6: Marty Schreiber talk at Wehr Nature Center 

April 11, Milwaukee Marathon, various parks

April 11, Friends of LaFollette Park: Easter Egg Hunt

April 11, Mayfair Rotary Club: Easter Egg Hunt 

April 11, Jackson Park Community Association: Easter Egg Hunt 

April 12,  Divine Mercy Parish: Sunrise Mass

May 16-17: Pug Fest, Milwaukee County Sports Complex,


Everyday Precautions
Health Authority officials continue to recommend people in Wisconsin take everyday precautions to prevent the spread of many respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19 and influenza:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are often touched.
  • Take care of your health overall. Staying current on your vaccinations, including flu vaccine, eating well and exercising all help your body stay resilient.
  • Consult CDC’s travel website for any travel advisories and steps to protect yourself if you plan to travel outside of Wisconsin.

You are an important partner in emergency management. Thank you for all you do to keep Milwaukee County safe.


What to do if you are sick

If you have questions about COVID-19, call the UW Health COVID-19 Informational Hotline at  (608) 720-5300

Wisconsin Department of Health Services - 608-266-1865

City of Milwaukee Health Department: https://city.milwaukee.gov/Coronavirus#.XmqGu6hKiUk

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/steps-when-sick.html


Other useful links

Milwaukee Recreation updates: https://mps.milwaukee.k12.wi.us/en/District/About-MPS/District-News/Covid-19-Updates.htm