New York —

Four San Francisco parks have been outfitted with white circles to remember social distance.

Photo:
JOHN G. MABANGLO / EFE

SAN FRANCISCO – With the guidelines for social distancing still in force and at the gates of a weekend that is expected to be very hot, San Francisco found a way to facilitate outdoor enjoyment by keeping distances to prevent COVID-19 infection: a series of 10-foot circles on the ground in their parks.

The image is most curious in Dolores Park, one of the most iconic green areas in the California city, in the Latin Quarter of Mission, where it seems that the grass has been replaced by a gigantic patterned carpet.

Dozens of chalk-drawn white circles, 10 feet in diameter and about 8 feet from each other, take up much of the park’s green space, with a stunning view of downtown San Francisco in the background.

The idea is that those who go to the park assign themselves a circle and not abandon it, guaranteeing that in no time will they be within 8 feet of other visitors.

Anything you want is allowed inside the circle, as long as it does not involve coming into contact with the occupants of other circles (you cannot, for example, pass a ball from one circle to another), but you can sunbathe, reading, stretching, juggling, smoking marijuana – legal throughout the state of California – or chatting with neighbors from other circles.

“I think it’s a good idea. It is not always easy to keep distances and this helps, it allows you to visualize it very clearly. And, hey, they’re even pretty! ‚ÄĚSays Yupta Gillis, a Mission neighbor who took advantage of the sunny Friday morning to go read to the park.

The idea is to avoid repeating scenes such as those lived on past weekends, when the San Francisco parks were filled to the top with visitors who did not respect social distancing and who took the mayor of the city London Breed, to threaten to close Dolores Park in early May.

In addition to Dolores Park, the city has also drawn circles on the ground for other popular green areas such as LIttle Marina Green, Washington Square, and Jackson Playground.

The city of San Francisco, with 881,000 inhabitants, was the first major city in the United States to enact confinement measures, and experts agree in pointing to this decision as one of the keys to the reduced impact that the coronavirus has had within its limits: since the beginning of the health crisis, it has only registered 40 deaths and 2,320 infected with coronavirus.

The United States reached 1,590,349 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 95,495 deaths this Friday, according to an independent count by Johns Hopkins University.

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