Your Views: Time to open parks, collect trash

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Windmill Hill Park (Photo/Cody Mello-Klein)
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To the editor:

I write in response to your editorial “Patience remains a virtue” in the May 14 issue of the Alexandria Times. No doubt you have outlined valid reasons as to why Northern Virginia, and Alexandria in particular, are not ready for a phase one reopening.

But not a one of those reasons listed in the editorial supports the continued closure of parks and game fields in the city. Nor do those reasons prohibit the resumption of regular trash and refuse collection in the city. The time has come for the city to let our children play and to pick up all of our trash.

As to the parks and fields, all evidence points to the very low risk of exposure to those who are outside in the open air, sunlight and humidity. This low risk – combined with the low rates of symptomatic illness among children generally – is far outweighed by the benefits to our children to spend time running, playing and getting their Vitamin D, especially since so many have been cooped up in their homes these past several weeks with all spring athletic seasons canceled.

Likewise, the reasons given by the city for the curtailment of trash services over the past two months no longer obtain. As with use of the parks and fields, trash collection is done outside where the risk of exposure is minimal, even over a longer period of time. Further, the city has had ample time to find alternative ways to deal with increases in residential trash production, as well as to manage the city employee absen- teeism that occurred at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis.

Open our parks, city council. And please – resume normal refuse collection.

-E.B. Darden, Alexandria

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