A City Council meeting this week announced that 700 municipal employees will be furloughed through June. The meeting also addressed the open trails that remain open to the public and frequently used despite social distancing rules.

The Council worried that open trails were drawing in too many people for social distancing guidelines of six feet to be applicable. There was talk over some roads being shut down to accommodate more pedestrian walking, but this idea was quickly shut down by Council members.

Shutting down streets from cars is costly, with projections being between $1,000 and $15,000 for one month of street closures. “I honestly am pretty confused why we’re continuing to spend valuable resources and time to even look at this. To me, it’s a divisive issue already, because you’re now pitting cars against pedestrians and bikes which is already an extremely divisive issue in our community,” Councilwoman Mirabai Nagle said. “It’s pretty obvious for me personally that we do not have the funds for this, we just furloughed over 700 employees.”

Council members instead recommended that people stay home or within their neighborhoods to exercise, siting that it is unsafe to be so close to people breathing so hard. “You’re much safer being side by side than in a line. If you can at all exercise in your community, around your house, on the public streets that are very empty right now, as opposed to all migrating to the public trails, as beautiful, as wonderful as they are, I think we’re putting ourselves at greater risk,” a Council member said.