Free play suspended at Memphis community centers due to COVID-19 surge

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — More record-breaking cases of COVID-19 is forcing a change in the routines of thousands of Mid-South kids.

Parents may need to find a new place for their kids to play, after Memphis Parks announced it was suspending Free Play at all community centers until further notice.

“I don’t know how my grandson’s going to feel,” said Stephanie Gatewood, whose grandson goes to McFarland Community Center everyday after school to play basketball. “I’m sure he’s probably going to be a little weepy eyed that he can’t play.”

In a social media post, Memphis Parks said it was making the change to help stop the spread of the virus.

Monday, the Shelby County Health Department reported a record number of children with COVID: 6,073 active pediatric cases.

Still the change at the community centers is disappointing for many families.

“I get that the virus is here,” said Gatewood. “But I just think that it’s very, very important to make sure that kids are able to have that social interaction and have free play. Maybe they could just make sure that they keep their masks on and maybe they make sure that they socially distance.”

While Free Play may be canceled at Memphis community centers, Memphis Parks says you should still contact your community center to see what other activities may be offered.