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El Paso to reopen facilities like museums, water parks

Spray park at Westside Community Park at 7400 High Ridge. (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
Spray park at Westside Community Park at 7400 High Ridge. (Credit: KFOX14/CBS4)
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City leaders announced big steps on Monday to slowly return to normal, announcing they will be opening quality of life services back up.

For over a year now many city amenities like parks and museums have been closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but now city officials said with more people getting vaccinated, now is the time to open things up.

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Services reopening:

  • The El Paso Museum of Art and the El Paso Museum of History will reopen on April 8. Both have new exhibits not yet seen by the public. It will open from 10 am to 6pm Thursdays through Satudays
  • The Downtown Art and Farmers Market will begin April 10 and happen every Saturday operating at normal hours from 9am to 1 pm.
  • The El Paso Zoo which has now been open for about four weeks plans to open more amenities like the carousel, the train and the sea lion demo.
  • All spray parks will be reactivated on April 17 with operating hours of Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-1pm and 5pm-8pm
  • Indoor pools such as Westside Natatorium, Memorial, Veterans, Eastside Natatorium and Marty Robins will operate from Tuesday through Friday 6am-11am, 5pm-9pm and Saturdays from 6am-11 am
  • Outdoor pools such as Grandview and Pavo Real will operate Monday through Friday from 6pm-9pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12pm-4pm
  • Sports centers are looking to reopen on April 17 which include Nations Tobin Sports Center, Galatzan, Veterans, Chamizal, Gary de Palacio, Officer David Ortiz, Valle Bajo, Marty Robbins Monday through Thursday from 8am to 1pm and 4 pm to 9pm and Friday and Saturdays from 8am to 1 pm.
  • Aquatic facilities will reopen in two phases in May.
  • Five new library locations will open on April 5: Dorris Van Doren, Memorial Park, Richard Burges, Irving Schwartz, Judge Marquez.
  • McKelligon Canyon Cool Canyon Nights, which is a free music series, will kick off June 17 on Thursday nights lasting for twelve weeks.
  • Viva El Paso will begin on June 30 and Friday and Saturday weekly performances will begin July 2 through August 7.
  • The city has also been constructing four new water parks over the last year. Camp Cohen at the old Cohen Stadium site will open on Memorial Day weekend and throughout the weeks that follow the other sites, which are Oasis, Chapoteo and Lost Kingdom will reopen.

The city is looking to hire 400 seasonal staff members for that operation.

Once these facilities open you will have to wear a face mask if you are 2-years or older and occupancy levels will be maintained at 50 percent.

El Paso's Deputy City Manager Tracey Jerome said reopening amenities create a healthier lifestyle for those in the community but a full reopening will take some time.

100-percent is something that is going to take time," Jerome said. "We anticipate this to be something like a three-year turnaround. We don’t expect things to come back right away. We are getting ready to go into the third fiscal year that will be affected impacted by COVID.

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Reporter Holly Bock asked city leaders if they have discussed reversing these reopening plans and putting restrictions back in place if El Paso sees an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

"Holly thanks for asking. It’s important the public knows we looked at a variety of scenarios we may see moving forward," Jerome said. "The Governor of the state of Texas has made certain determinations so regardless of what we do moving forward, we always have to be in compliance with state law and there are certain things state law will allow and won’t allow. Where the issues will arise will be for example if our hospitalization numbers or the TSA (trauma service area) number goes up. According to the governor‘s latest orders if that number goes above 15 percent we go into a high infection category again and there are certain things that local officials are allowed to do and certain decisions and actions that local officials can then take. We have run those scenarios and we are ready to do what we need to do but I do want to emphasize we will not do anything that is outside of what we are allowed to do per state regulation and law right now."

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