Red Deer has decided to reopen playgrounds with a phased approach. (File photo submitted by the Town of Blackfalds)

Phased reopening of Red Deer playgrounds starts Friday

Red Deer County to have all playgrounds open by May 28

With the province slowly beginning to open up after closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Deer playgrounds will also be allowed to do so.

The city announced Friday that they would start a phased reopening of playgrounds between May 22 and May 29.

“We know the closure of playgrounds has been difficult for some families with young children. We are re-opening playgrounds and fitness parks while continuing to align with recommendations from the Chief Medical Officer of Health, but caution the public that these structures are high touch and high contact surfaces,” said Karen Mann, Emergency Operations Centre Director.

Red Deer County also announced Friday that they will re-open all playgrounds by May 28.

“We realize that many residents are anxious to get outside and use our playgrounds, however, we must take the proper steps to ensure the equipment is safe and ready to use,” said Red Deer County Community Services Manager Jo-Ann Symington.

“We also remind those wishing to use playgrounds to remain with those living in their household, and following physical distancing guidelines.”

Other municipalities, like Sylvan Lake opened some playgrounds during phase 1 of their opening plan but did not recommend playground use at the time. In Airdrie, they also opened parks on Friday and Edmonton is doing the same.

Alberta Health Services put out guidelines about reopening playgrounds on May 16.

Some of those recommendations to keep playgrounds safe include encouraging sick children not to attend, cleaning and disinfecting toys and sports equipment after use, wash hands frequently and consider only visiting playgrounds close to your home. Also try and maintain physical distancing and following gathering guidelines (none bigger than 50).

In Red Deer, the City is not washing or sanitizing structures before they open, but encouraging families to bring their own sanitizer to the park with them and limit contact with others. Community members are being asked to refrain from using playgrounds or outdoor fitness equipment until crews remove closed signs and caution tape.

“Due to the diligence and commitment of our residents throughout this pandemic to complying with all orders and recommendations from health officials, we are now in a position to begin re-opening a number of our amenities in a phased manner,” Mann said.

“While we are as pleased as you are to see playgrounds and fitness parks starting to re-open, we know it will take the continued support of all residents to keep each other safe and healthy through this relaunch.”

Residents can call the City’s call centre at 403-342-8111 if they have questions regarding the playground reopening or any City services.

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