(WKBN) – Local police officers said they’ve still seen large groups of teens getting together, disregarding social distancing amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a Facebook post, Columbiana police said they’ve broken up groups at Firestone Park and in parking lots outside of essential businesses. They said some of these teens have run away from officers or given false information.
Police said they have also seen groups of teens piled into cars just driving around the area.
In order to stop further spread of the coronavirus, the police department is encouraging parents to keep their kids home while the stay-at-home order is still in effect. They said parents should stress the severity of this pandemic to their kids and the importance of non-essential travel.
Boardman Police Chief Mark Pitzer also took to his personal Facebook page to write about a problem he’s noticing in the community.
“From what I’ve heard is that there are kids that are getting together, going to the park, many of their friends are kind of hanging out, so that’s not the idea of going to the park,” he said.
The East Liverpool Police Department posted a similar notice on its Facebook page, warning parents against letting their children go to the playground or basketball court.
They said contact sports should be avoided at this time.
Mahoning County Health Commissioner Ryan Tekac said people need to be smart about the choices they’re making during this pandemic.
“There’s no reason why we should be relying on law enforcement and health departments to make those choices when parents, as well as kids, can make those choices for themselves, but parents need to be parents right now and keep their kids at home,” he said.
Tekac said anyone who knows of groups coming together like that should call their local police departments.
For more information on COVID-19 and the stay at home order, visit the Ohio Department of Health’s website.