Playtime! Playgrounds to Reopen Soon Following New State Guidance

In excitement, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus took it upon himself to remove the caution tape at a local park Tuesday morning

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Meet you at the park!

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has the ball rolling on reopening San Diego playgrounds following new outdoor recreation guidance issued by the state Monday.

Faulconer said in a tweet that he was directing city staff to work on a reopening scheduled for playgrounds, and announced on Friday that all 289 city parks would be reopened on Saturday.

Parks and Recreation staff have conducted site visits to determine each park's capacity and to prepare the locations to adhere to social distancing standards, the Mayor said.

Following suit, the city of Carlsbad, the city of Poway and the County of San Diego parks will be opening this week as well. Other cities say they are still evaluating a safe reopening.

The California Department of Public Health issued the following guidelines for playground and outdoor recreation area visitors:

  • 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
  • Do not use the playground when different households are unable to maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or when the capacity limit of [number of children and number of adults] has been reached
  • Caregivers must monitor to keep adults and children from different households at least 6 feet apart
  • Consider coming on different times or days to avoid wait times and potential crowded times
  • No eating or drinking in playground, to ensure face masks are worn at all times
  • Wash or sanitize hands before and after using the playground.
  • Elderly and persons with underlying medical conditions should avoid playground when others are present
  • Limit visit to 30 min per day when others are present
  • More guidance for playground operators can be found here.

The state DPH also recommended flyers listing these rules be posted at all outdoor playgrounds.

The new state guidance follows a bipartisan call from lawmakers to reopen family-friendly activity spaces

Faulconer didn't provide any additional details regarding the schedule for playground reopenings, and the city's Parks and Recreation Department website has not been updated as of Monday night.

Poway Mayor Steve Vaus tweeted Monday he was working with the City Council on a playground reopening pilot program that would include sanitation guidelines and other safety protocols.

On Tuesday morning, he took it upon himself to remove caution tape at Valle Verde Park while he was out for a morning stroll.

“When I saw (the state guidance), I was like, ‘Yes!’ and so when I ran by here this morning, I thought, ‘I’m going to cut me some caution tape,’" Vaus told NBC 7. "We finally got these playgrounds open and I couldn’t be more excited.”

Within the hour of removing the caution tape, kids were already playing on the playground. Bailey McBride was the first child to ever play on Valle Verde Park's new playground; it was still under construction when the first round of shutdowns were ordered.

“It’s really exciting. We play soccer here on Wednesdays and so we’ve seen it up close," Bailey's mother, Leah McBride said. "She’s tried to touch the edge of the new foams so she’s been really waiting and really excited. It’s beautiful. We needed it for this area."

Crews have been cleaning and sanitizing playgrounds as they remove caution tape from them. Vaus said Poway plans to clean sanitize playgrounds up to four times a day upon the reopening.

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