HAVERHILL — Summer is officially here, and with the heat comes the latest part of Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan.

Now that the school year is over, children across Haverhill have their pick of outdoor fun for the summer — but it will be socially distanced due to COVID-19 rules.

Mayor James Fiorentini said the city has made great strides against the coronavirus. The city's total case count stood at 1,167 on Tuesday. Sixty-one residents had died from the disease, according to city health officials. A week earlier, the city had 1,155 cases and 59 deaths. The week before that, the numbers were 1,123 and 56.

Fiorentini said the decreasing number of new cases is primarily due to social distancing. So while plenty of summer fun is being offered to families, COVID-19 rules must be followed.

Winnekenni Park and Riverside Park are among the open spaces that can be utilized by the public in the governor's latest phase, along with outdoor athletic facilities for youth and adult sports activities.

Programs including sports camps are permitted as long as group size is limited. Programs must separate participants into groups of no more than 12, including coaches and staff, the governor's rules say.

Although contact sport games and scrimmages are not allowed in city parks at this time, practices are allowed but social distancing must be maintained. This means no baseball, lacrosse or basketball games and no other contact sports, said city Human Resources Director Vincent Ouellette.

The number of spectators is limited and no one can sit on benches.

"You can play tennis and the nets are up at Riverside Park and Haverhill High School and at Winnekenni Park, although you must book your time online at haverhillrec.com," Ouellette said.

Several programs are also available for local children through the Northshore YMCA, according to Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller.

Fuller said local young people got into the summer swing Monday of this week as part of the Y's Shoe City Explorers and gymnastics camps. Camp Tricklin' Falls, located in East Kingston, has also opened for the season, Fuller said.

"We know kids are going to want and need fresh air," Fuller said. "We know kids are really ready to have a summer where they can be social and socially distant at the same time."

Adhering to rules set forth by the governor and the state Department of Early Education and Care, the YMCA has social distancing and hygiene practices in place to keep campers, staff members and families healthy and safe, Fuller said.

Each camper's family must submit a daily health form certifying their child has not been exposed to COVID-19, Fuller said. Families will also be quizzed on symptoms when they drop off and pick up their children, she said, adding that the Y's beginning and end-of-day procedures will be extended by 30 minutes to minimize congestion.

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill plans to begin its summer camp programming Monday, July 6, and run it for seven weeks to Aug. 21, Executive Director Javier Bristol said. Signups for those programs can be done by calling 978-374-6171.

Throughout the summer, the School Department plans to continue its meal distribution service to Haverhill children ages 18 and younger.

Any Haverhill child, regardless of the school they attend, is eligible to receive a bagged meal at one of six distribution sites.

Grab-n-go meals are distributed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily at Hunking School, Consentino School, Nettle School, Whittier Middle School, the YMCA and Haverhill High School. Each child is entitled to one breakfast pack and one lunch pack per day. Additional meals are provided on Friday for the weekend.

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