World Events

California playgrounds can reopen with COVID-19 restrictions

Outdoor playgrounds in California have been given the green light for reopening six months after the state shuttered parks, campgrounds and public recreational areas over COVID-19 concerns.

The California Department of Public Health announced new guidance Monday to allow outdoor playground spaces to reopen in all counties, regardless of tier status.

Like every allowance from the state, however, the choice to move forward with a reopening is up to local jurisdictions. The new guidelines do not apply to indoor playgrounds, which remain closed in Tier 1 and Tier 2 of the state’s color-coded four-part blueprint for reopening.

To use the playgrounds, children and visitors 2 or older must wear face masks and maintain a 6-foot separation between households. Facilities operators will be expected to determine the maximum limit at a playground. Visits are expected to be limited to 30 minutes.

Additionally, childcare programs, schools and youth groups will not be allowed to use the playgrounds when they are open to the public. Those groups can use the space if the facility offers reservations for exclusive use.

The decision comes roughly two weeks after two dozen lawmakers pressed Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen outdoor playgrounds, an effort led by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego).

“Playgrounds don’t make money … but they keep our kids happy and healthy, physically and mentally,” she tweeted earlier this month. “We need as much focus on our kids as we have had on adult recreation (bars and salons.)”

Gonzalez credited the idea for the effort’s launch to a report from KPBS-TV.

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