HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) – Hartford city officials announced on Thursday that the use of outdoor athletic fields will be suspended.

Starting on Oct. 13, all of Hartford’s outdoor athletic fields will be closed.

City leaders made the call following an increased number of COVID-19 cases. They said people haven’t been following health guidelines while using the fields. 

Local leagues and organizations will be impacted by the decision.

It does not include school-sponsored athletics or Hartford Athletic games because those follow strict safety protocols.

“We have seen significant use of our outdoor athletic fields, and unfortunately, we’ve also seen too little adherence to coronavirus protocols, including mask wearing and social distancing,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. “It’s not a decision we take lightly, but to help try to limit the spread of the virus in our community, we will be suspending the use of athletic fields and canceling reservations after this Monday. We know how frustrating and disappointing this will be to many leagues and organizations, but our Health Department feels this is a necessary step, and I support their recommendation.”

Public Health Commissioner Diedre Gifford agreed with the city’s decision and said leaders were wise to take the steps. 

“This is really something that each of us has to take responsibility for in our day-to-day activities, particularly with coworkers, friends, and family members we don’t live with,” Gifford said. 

Ihab Elgavani and his friends play soccer twice a week at a West Hartford field, less than 2 minutes away from the Hartford border. 

Elgavani said he understood the need for the city next door to shut down fields and if West Hartford did the same, he’d happily oblige. 

“If it means the safety and health of people, I’m up or that,” Elgavani said. 

Reservations for the use of fields on or after Oct. 13 will be canceled.

Any organization that uses the field after that date will not be able to reserve them for the spring season. 

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