Roller hockey at the town's hockey rink at Stotzky Park on March 21. Photo: Peter Blasl

All basketball courts, pickleball courts and dog parks in Riverhead Town are now closed to the public, Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller said Friday evening. The skate park and the hockey rink at Stotzky Park are also now closed.

The closures were ordered to prevent the continued spread of coronavirus in the community, Hegermiller said.

Riverhead Town closed all playgrounds two weeks ago. Suffolk County also closed all playgrounds in county parks at that time.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on March 20 banned all social gatherings, banned all contact sports and activities and required all people to stay at least six feet apart when in public.

But those directives have not been adhered to in some quarters, especially by young people, prompting the governor to order the shut-down of NYC playgrounds. NYC has also removed hoops from 80 basketball courts in the city.

Riverhead is not removing hoops from basketball courts yet, Hegermiller said. The town is looking into outfitting the hoops with devices that would block a ball from entering the hoop, he said.

Riverhead officials are concerned that as the weather gets warmer, more people will flock to town recreational facilities and violate the social distancing and other directives, the chief said.

Parks do remain open to the public for walking and hiking, Hegermiller said. The EPCAL recreation trail also remains open.

We need your help.
Now more than ever, the survival of quality local journalism depends on your support. Our community faces unprecedented economic disruption, and the future of many small businesses are under threat, including our own. It takes time and resources to provide this service. We are a small family-owned operation, and we will do everything in our power to keep it going. But today more than ever before, we will depend on your support to continue. Support RiverheadLOCAL today. You rely on us to stay informed and we depend on you to make our work possible.

Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.