‘We want to ensure they are as safe as possible’ - Playgrounds in part of Norfolk to stay closed
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A council has decided to keep play areas closed until clearer guidance is provided in a bid to keep families safe, despite the government’s announcement that they can now reopen.
As play areas across Norfolk open their gates for the first time since lockdown, parks managed by the borough council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk will remain closed while further clarification and guidance is sought and Covid-19 risk assessments are carried out.
There are over 80 council-owned play areas across the borough, and around 1400 individual pieces of equipment.
Elizabeth Nockolds, deputy leader of the council and cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, said: “We obviously want to open the play areas and ensure they are as safe as possible for children to use.
“However, the lack of clarity in the government guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable level of cleaning and sanitisation means that opening all the play areas in the borough is neither practical nor achievable.
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“We have sought clarification and further guidance from Government.
“In the meantime, we have Covid-19 risk-assessed the play area in The Walks, King’s Lynn, as this is the only play area where we have staff on site daily who can manage entry and exit from the area and undertake frequent cleaning.
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“I want to thank the staff involved for their efforts in getting the play area ready to open on Saturday.
“We will look at all the other play areas on a phased basis, undertaking Covid risk assessments as we go. We will only open play areas where we are satisfied that the measures, we have in place ensure the safety of those using them.”
The council is urging people to respect the signage, barriers and tape that are in place on closed play areas.
And a spokesman said they are closed for people’s safety as play equipment is considered to be high touch and carries an increased risk of spreading the virus through contact.
Ms Nockolds added: “Many play areas are managed by parish councils and community groups, who I am sure are facing the same dilemmas as we are.
“We have shared the current guidance with the parishes and will keep them informed of our approach and any revised guidance or clarification we receive.”