WHITE OAK — In hopes of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in the community, White Oak’s two public parks will temporarily close except for their walking trails.

The City Council on Tuesday ordered access to playgrounds and baseball and softball fields at City Park and Penick Park closed after recommendations from law enforcement and emergency medical personnel.

“The big thing right now is just social distancing,” Brian Russell with the White Oak Police Department said during the council meeting. “You hear (that on the news about keeping) 6 feet apart. There’s no way that people will do that at games and stuff like that.”

The track at White Oak ISD also remains open “as of right now,” Superintendent Brian Gray said, “but that could change.”

As of Tuesday, there was one confirmed case of the virus in Gregg County, according to the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

“At this point, this is the time frame that we have to really slow it down by keeping people away from each other,” Russell said. “If they continue to just get out and about over the next two weeks, it’s going to explode way beyond.””

City leaders will monitor guidelines and recommendations from health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, City Coordinator Charlie Smith said, and could revisit the park closures in the next couple of weeks.

“It’s bad that we have to close those ballparks,” Mayor Kyle Kutch said. “I know I spent a lot of time out there, and I know how you parents feel, but it would be worse if somebody got sick, so I guess we’ve just got to do this right now.”