The good news is playgrounds are reopening in California; the bad news is they are reopening with some rather colorful guidelines.
As the Los Angeles Times reported this week, children can now frolic on playgrounds but only if they follow the strict rules, which include: waiting in capacity lines, wearing a mask at all times, and distancing from other children.
“COVID-19 continues to pose a severe risk to communities and requires all people in California to follow necessary precautions and to adapt the way they live and function in light of this ongoing risk,” the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said on its website. “This guidance provides direction on usage of outdoor playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities (hereafter facilities), to support a safe environment for children and families. It applies to outdoor playgrounds located in parks, campgrounds, and other publicly accessible locations.”
Among other things, the rules also forbid all eating or drinking at the playground while encouraging people to visit during off-hours to avoid any wait times to entry. Play will be permitted for only 30 minutes per day when others are present:
1. Face masks over the mouth and nose are required for everyone 2 years of age or older with caregiver supervision at all times to ensure face mask use.
2. Do not use the playground when different households are unable to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or when the capacity limit has been reached.
3. Caregivers must monitor to keep adults and children from different households at least 6 feet apart.
4. Consider coming on different times or days to avoid wait times and potential crowded times.
5. No eating or drinking in playground, to ensure face masks are worn at all times.
6. Wash or sanitize hands before and after using the playground.
7. Elderly and persons with underlying medical conditions should avoid playground when others are present.
8. Limit visit to 30 min per day when others are present
Furthermore, parents must supervise the child at all times to ensure that social distancing is being maintained with other children present. If two children are being supervised by the same adult, then those children “must stay together in the same play area or play structure at all times.” In the event that an infant needs care, the rules go so far to state that the other children present must leave the playground temporarily to join the parent until the infant is satiated.
Signs listing the maximum capacity will also be listed at each playground; parents waiting in line are asked to maintain six feet of social distance.
Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to reopen playgrounds comes two weeks after state lawmakers pressed him to make the switch.
“Playgrounds don’t make money … but they keep our kids happy and healthy, physically and mentally,” Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) tweeted earlier this month. “We need as much focus on our kids as we have had on adult recreation (bars and salons.)”
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