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Dozens of people continue using hand bars at Austin parks, ER doctors urge them to think twice

KVUE's Hannah Rucker filmed dozens of families using the same pull-up bar at Mueller Lake Park over a three-week period.

AUSTIN, Texas — It's no secret that most Austinites love going outside on a gorgeous day – but at what cost?

Over the last three weeks, amid the coronavirus pandemic, KVUE's Hannah Rucker has collected video of dozens of people using the same pull-up bar at Mueller Lake Park, without so much as wiping it down.

"When you touch the bar, it's going to stay on your skin for quite an amount of time. You're sweating, also getting your germs and then you're getting your germs on the bar," said Dr. Natasha Kathuria, an emergency room physician at Austin Emergency Center. "If you contact someone else's germs and don't wash your face, you can contract the virus."

Austin officials hope closing all city parks Easter weekend will send a message to take social distancing seriously.


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"We're very worried on the frontlines that once the sun comes out like yesterday and today, and with Easter weekend, people will forget that social distancing is more critical now than ever," Dr. Kathuria said.

Austin-based health and wellness coach Ross Tschirn said there are plenty of alternatives to a public pull-up bar when you're not able to go to a gym.

Using the same pull up bar

Is it really worth the work out? Here's video that has been taken over the span of three weeks showing dozens of people use the same pull up bar in the Mueller community without wiping it down. This is a reminder that all park amenities are CLOSED. Tonight Hannah Rucker News shows us how long the Coronavirus can live on different surfaces. Also, a message from a local ER physician about staying in on Easter weekend.

Posted by KVUE on Wednesday, April 8, 2020

"If you really need a pull-up bar, there's at-home bars you can order, you can also use two chairs and do any type of pulling movement," Tschirn said.

At the end of the day, he stressed that now is not the time for public workouts.


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"We're supposed to be sanitizing, not spreading out germs on the poles," he said. "If it has a 'do not cross' sign, it's pretty self-explanatory we should not be crossing."

The closure of Austin parks goes into effect at sunset on Thursday, April 9, through sunrise on Monday, April 13.

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