After seeing social media reports of local youth not following social distancing guidelines at Dolan Park's basketball court earlier this week, Mayor Michelle Roman had city workers remove the basketball hoops on Thursday.
Hoops on on backboards at courts at all city courts were removed as well. Roman expressed disappointment about the city's need to take the step, however, she said it was necessary because too many people were gathering around the courts in violation of standards put in place by the state amid the outbreak of COVID-19.
"I don't think everybody is firmly grasping what we're dealing with," Roman said.
Roman said it's fine for residents to be outside in groups of fewer than five people. She was alerted to a crowd that included between 20 and 30 people at Dolan Park on Wednesday.
"We're trying to keep people social distancing and we want to keep the parks open to allow for some outdoor activity," Roman said.
Police Chief Steven Abbott echoed Roman, saying the parks are open, but people really should be following social distancing as the state continues to try to tamp down the spread of the virus in an effort to reduce the strain on New York's healthcare system.
Abbott said police officers can't arrest someone for violating the recommended crowd sizes, but are reminding people about the new standards for public gatherings amid COVID-19.
"If they (Lockport police officers) see large crowds they will say 'hey can you be mindful of social distancing,'" Abbott said.
Abbott said it was a necessary to remove the basketball hoops at city parks to ensure everyone's safe during the pandemic.
"The hoops will go back up," Abbott said. "Its unfortunate, but it's what needs to be done."