As more families find themselves under "Stay at Home" orders, combined with the usual "spring fever," the itch to get outside is growing.

But many municipalities are taking steps to stop the spread of coronavirus by closing parks and playgrounds to the public.

Medical experts say it's for the best.

"If we're going to be serious about shutting this virus down we really do have to keep people separated, six feet or more, for an extended period of time," said Dr. Luther Rhodes.

Dr. Rhodes is a leading infectious diseases specialist for Lehigh Valley Health Network. He says we need to be doing everything in our power to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"This is a new virus, nobody in the world essentially, or very few people have immunity so it's got to play itself out," said Dr. Rhodes.

That includes closing risky areas like playgrounds and parks. 

In Jim Thorpe, all borough parks are closed until further notice. Summit Hill has closed its basketball court and removed the rims to discourage large gatherings. And while Palmerton parks remain open, playground equipment has been taped off.

"You can't tell how long a surface was contaminated, how long ago," said Dr. Rhodes.

According to the World Health Organization, the coronavirus can live on surfaces for a few hours or up to a few days. Because public places are hard to regularly sanitize, experts say closing them makes the most sense.

"If you could be sure someone went into a playground and absolutely desanitized it and you had one child using a swing or what have you at a playground, that would be fine but it doesn't work that way," said Dr. Rhodes.

But again, this doesn't mean you can't go outside. Doctors encourage people to step out and exercise, as long as they do so safely.

"The restrictions don't keep you from going out for a run, for a walk, going out in your backyard and working your head off," said Dr. Rhodes.

Palmerton's borough manager says they're seeing a lot of large groups gathering in the park so they are discussing putting more restrictions into place.