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Park and Playground Safety and Social Distancing FAQs and Recommendations

Q. As a park administrator, what factors should I consider before reopening my facility?

A.
Park administrators should consider multiple factors and make an informed decision about reopening their facilities. They should read the CDC guidelines and contact their local health authorities to understand the risks.
They should consider the extent of the spread in their locality/region and the stage of community transmission before arriving at a decision.

Q. How can social distancing be practiced in parks and playgrounds?

A.
While parks and playgrounds possess the risk of spread, they are essential for the physical and mental well-being of individuals, especially children. Safety can be ensured by practicing social distancing in the following ways:
- Install social distancing signage for parks to remind people to stay six-feet apart, practice respiratory hygiene, use face masks/coverings, and stay home if sick.
- Ensure proper maintenance and frequent cleaning and disinfection of the play area, play equipment, and restrooms.
- Frequently disinfect hard surfaces such as gates, handles, handrails, benches, etc. - Cancel/discontinue/modify group events.
- Educate and train the staff about the preventive measures and the safety practices and protocols to be followed.
Please refer to the CDC guidelines for parks and recreational facilities for more details.

Q. How do I ensure the safety of children who visit my park?

A.
You can adopt the following practices to ensure the safety of children in your park.
- Provide supervision to ensure proper usage of masks and sanitizers.
- Teach and remind them and their guardians about physical distancing while playing.
- Ensure all disinfectants and cleaning supplies are stored away from their reach.
- Frequently clean and disinfect the surfaces that children are most likely to touch.
- Make sure children properly wash their hands before and after outdoor playtime.

Q. Should I prohibit the entry of pets in my facility as a precautionary measure?

A.
You may choose to do that. You can also make it mandatory for owners to walk their dogs on a leash while maintaining the six-feet distance with people who do not live in their household.

Q. Is it safe for children to go to parks and playgrounds during the outbreak?

A.
Although the best policy is to stay at home and avoid most forms of social interaction, we have reached a point where this is no longer feasible.
As parents, you should make a conscious call about allowing your kids to go outside to play. While children are considered to be at a lower risk than the elderly, those with preexisting conditions should be protected.
You should also educate and repeatedly remind children about the best practices and the importance of hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, face covering, and social distancing.

Q. How can parents ensure safe playdates for their children in parks/playgrounds?

A.
Parents can ensure safe playdates for their children by being vigilant and proactive. Such dates should be planned with people they know and trust.
Only healthy people and children should participate in these dates. Those feeling unwell or who have been exposed to someone with the virus should refrain from participating. It is also a good idea to organize these playdates outdoors rather than indoors. If outdoors is not an option, opt for virtual playdates.
Before heading out for the date, parents should remind their children about social distancing practices. They should also carry a safety kit along that includes face masks, hand sanitizers, and disinfectant sprays and/or wipes. It may also be a good idea to carry sufficient toys and individually wrapped snacks to avoid possible touching and sharing.

Q. What are the specific CDC guidelines/recommendations for park administrators?

A.
The CDC guidelines emphasize the use of signs and posters to create awareness and remind people to follow the recommended steps to limit the spread.
These focus on practicing respiratory etiquette, social distancing, washing/sanitizing hands frequently, and wearing masks.
The guidelines also recommend maintaining and safekeeping of a steady stock of cleaning and disinfecting supplies, and frequent cleaning and disinfection of the facility in accordance with the Guidance for cleaning and disinfecting.
These recommendations ask park administrators to make an informed decision about youth camps and activities, and canceling/postponing group events.
Park administrators should also educate and train their staff about the preventive measures and policies adopted, and make special policies for staff members who may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The detailed guidelines can be found here: Guidance for Administrators in Parks and Recreational Facilities.
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