Arlington Public Facilities Begin Opening Their Doors Again

Arlington residents are beginning to see an easing up of the restrictions that were implemented in an attempt to abide by social distancing guidelines. Governor Abbott announced on May 18th that per his executive order, Texas would begin Phase 2 of its reopening process. Phase 1 began on April 27th and allowed certain establishments such as restaurants, retail stores, libraries and museums to reopen at a limited capacity. With these restrictions slowly being lifted, Arlington has begun seeing amenities like our public libraries, recreation centers and local bars and restaurants now being partially open to the public.

Recreation Centers

Photo courtesy of

Cliff Nelson Recreation Center, Dottie Lynn Recreation Center, Hugh Smith Recreation Center and Elzie Odom Athletic Center all opened May 18th at limited capacities. Per the City of Arlington’s official website, a few of the restrictions in place include:

  • 25% room capacity or less
  • Regulated 6 feet social distancing between patrons
  • Fitness classes are limited based on room size
  • Basketball gyms are limited to two persons per goal for open shoot around only
  • The indoor track at Elzie Odom Athletic Center is open for use but requiring social distancing as well
  • Face masks and gloves are encouraged but not required

Arlington Public Libraries

Photo courtesy of Arlington Public Library – East Arlington Branch Facebook page

Arlington Libraries were staying active in helping the community even while their doors were closed to the public. They were offering services like curbside pickup for books, staying active on their social media accounts to offer virtual entertainment to our residents, and even teamed up with the organization CitySquare for the fifth year in a row to offer free meals to school children on Mondays and Fridays. The East Arlington, Northeast, Southeast, and Lake Arlington locations are now open with certain restrictions:

  • Open for 25% of its regular occupancy load
  • Recommending calling ahead to schedule a one-hour appointment as walk-ins will only be allowed if occupancy allows it
  • Encouraging wearing masks

Some of the amenities available again include:

  • Browsing books to checkout
  • Public computer access (one-hour limit per adult patron)
  • Copying, faxing and scanning

Restaurants and Bars in Phase 2

Phase 1 of reopening Texas included allowing restaurants to reopen at 25% capacity. With us entering Phase 2 now, restaurant capacity allowed has shifted to 50% and bars are now allowed to reopen while serving only 25% capacity. These restrictions do not apply to outdoor seating areas so long as social distancing is practiced among parties. Other facilities allowed to reopen during Phase 2 include:

  • Child care centers
  • Massage and personal-care centers
  • Zoos and aquariums
  • Youth sports

Governor Abbott has continued urging Texans to do their part to maintain public safety as well. While announcing the beginning of Phase 2 of reopening he asked that Texans “continue heeding the guidance of our state and federal medical experts and do their part to protect public health” as well as adding that their “focus is keeping Texans safe while restoring their ability to get back to work, open their businesses, pay their bills, and put food on their tables”. Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams also addressed the city’s residents in a video in which he stated “First, I wanna thank you at home for doing your part to keep our city healthy and safe. And by practicing social distancing and wearing a mask, you’re a huge reason why we’re able to transition into Phase 2 of our city’s roadmap to reopen and recover” 

In these unfamiliar times, we’ve seen countless communities come together to support each other. With the sacrifices that our communities have had to make in the interest of public health, it is promising to see that we are moving toward a future focused on both keeping the population as healthy as possible and attempting to make a gradual return towards our old lifestyles.

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Fredy Madrigal
Fredy (Jose Alfredo) Madrigal is a first-generation American, first-generation college student and has been an Arlington resident for several years now. He is currently a senior at UT Arlington pursuing his BBA in Marketing and Management. Fredy also holds a Hootsuite Social Marketing Certification and is currently the Marketing Director for the Association of Latino Professionals for America’s UTA chapter