COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates

On Friday, May 22, 2020, at 5 p.m., Durham’s updated Stay-at-Home Orders are in effect until rescinded. For complete details visit the City of Durham COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Updates & Resources page.

During these challenging times, the health and safety of our residents and staff are our top priority. As we navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the necessary precautions and adhering to the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent the spread of the virus. 

Amenities that are open

  • Parks - All Parks remain open with the exception of C.M. Herndon Park
  • Trails
  • Greenways
  • Tennis Courts
  • Pickleball Courts
  • Disc Golf Courses
  • City Lakes - see below for details on limited operations and capacities including the lottery system
  • Picnic Shelters - Reservations will not be available through June, and no new reservations will be made for the remainder of the shelter season at this time. Those using the shelters on a first-come, first-serve basis are required to comply with local and state restrictions including mass gathering size. 

As you recreate in Durham’s parks and trails, model social distancing by maintaining a safe distance (at least 6 feet) between you and other users. Please see below for additional recommendations.*

We have assigned off duty officers to monitor our parks, and we also ask that residents call the Police Non-emergency line at 919-560-4600 to report any violations of the Stay-at-Homer Order or unsafe behavior.  

Amenities that will reopen on Friday, May 22

City Lakes will open on Friday, May 22 with limited operations and capacities in order to meet state and local social distancing requirements. A lottery system will be in place to access permits at each lake. Please read all of the following information if you plan to visit our lakes.

The health and safety of our patrons and staff are our top priority. Please do your part and practice social distancing at the lakes by remaining at least 6 feet away from others. Additionally, per the City-County Orders, a face covering will be required at all times, when social distancing is not possible.

Lake Michie 

  • Only open for personal boat launches and bank fishing. 
  • Nonmotorized boat launches and bank fishing will be on a first-come, first-serve basis. 
  • Personal motorized boat launches will require a permit through a lottery system.
  • No rentals will be available.

Little River

  • Only open for bank fishing. 
  • Bank fishing will require a permit through a lottery system.
  • No rentals will be available.

Lottery System

You MUST use the lottery system in order to be entered for the chance to obtain a permit.

Lotteries will run from 12 a.m.-6 p.m. the day before your desired launch or bank fishing day. For example, if you would like to enter for a chance to obtain a permit on Sunday, text the number on Saturday between 12 a.m.-6 p.m. Results will be sent via text once the lottery closes at 6 p.m.

  • Text "LM Launch" to 31996 to be entered for a personal motorized boat launch permit at Lake Michie.
  • Text "LR Bank Fish" to 31996 to be entered for a bank fishing permit at Little River Lake.

Permits are good only for the date and location at which they were issued.

Lakes will be open during their normal seasonal operating hours, Friday through Monday from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Amenities that are currently closed

  • C.M. Herndon Park is closed to the public due to repeated large gatherings of players during the COVID pandemic. All of the facilities in the park are closed to the public including the fields, playground, and bathrooms. Please note that the American Tobacco Trail (ATT) remains open and parking for it is available at the newly constructed parking lot on Scott King Road adjacent to the ATT.
  • Playgrounds
  • Park restrooms
  • Skate Park at Durham Central Park
  • Dog Parks
  • All Athletic Fields
  • Futsal Courts
  • Basketball Courts
  • DPR Administration Building
  • All Recreation Centers and Pools


  • All instructional and drop-in programs, leagues, activities, and events are canceled and/or suspended until further notice. Staff will be in contact with registered participants to discuss options for refunds and/or rescheduling. Please note, due to the recent malware attack on the City, this may take some time as many staff still do not have access to computers and/or facility phones.
  • All rentals will be canceled or postponed until further notice. Staff will contact and work with those who have a rental scheduled during this time to either refund or reschedule.
  • The 2021 Durham Armory Reservation Meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 19, 2020 has been postponed. Please check back for updates.

Outdoor Pools

After careful consideration, review of information from trade associations specifically the National Parks and Recreation Association (NRPA), and guidance from federal, state, and local health officials, we will not open Durham’s outdoor swimming pools for the 2020 summer season.  

The safety of our participants and staff is our number one priority. In addition, we are dedicated to providing services that are equitable for everyone. The logistical challenges of being able to provide these services safely would severely limit the number of our residents who would be able to access these services. While this was a difficult decision, we have determined that the challenges described above outweigh the benefit to the few that we would be able to safely serve. 

Opening the pools created the following safety challenges and concerns related to Covid-19:

  • need to hire and train a sufficient number of seasonal lifeguards in a short time-frame;
  • need to minimize the amount of people within our smaller pool facilities, limiting our ability to ensure equitable access;
  • need to require visitors and staff to maintain a social distance and wear masks when they cannot; and
  • need to increase cleaning and sanitizing frequencies required for decks, surfaces, and locker rooms (requiring additional staff)

*Additional Safety Recommendations

Additional recommendations include washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; and staying home when you are sick. The CDC recommends coughing or sneezing into a tissue and then throwing it away, or sneezing into your upper shirt, sleeve or elbow, completely covering your nose and mouth; use your elbow to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Those who are high risk including those who are 65 years of age or older, have long-term medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure or those who have weak immune systems are advised to stay home per the guidelines of the CDC.  

Please continue to follow our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages and visit our website for updates.

Visit the City of Durham’s website for additional information on the City’s updates and resources.