California parks, playgrounds can reopen under COVID-19 rule

California parks, playgrounds can reopen under COVID-19 rule

  • September 29, 2020
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California playgrounds can now reopen statewide under all coronavirus risk tiers, according to new guidance released by the state.

The California Department of Public Health on Monday issued guidance explaining how outdoor playgrounds and other recreational facilities must be used during the COVID-19 emergency. The guidance does not cover indoor playgrounds or family entertainment centers, which must remain closed.

The new rules require that everyone 2 years of age and older wear a face covering, and that children remain under adult supervision to ensure that masks stay on.

The guidance also requires that playgrounds post a maximum capacity, and that different households maintain a distance of six feet from each other.

Eating and drinking is restricted, in order to ensure mask use, and visits should be limited to 30 minutes when others are present, under the new guidance.

The guidance comes nearly two weeks after a group of nearly two dozen California lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom urging him to reopen parks and playgrounds.

“As a parent yourself, you know how important it is for children to have opportunities to expend their physical energy and play. However, especially in lower-income communities, families may have little to no outdoor space of their own available. Public parks and playgrounds provide a critical shared outdoor resource for families, but the indefinite closure further disadvantages children who have limited other options for outdoor recreation and physical activity,” the letter read in part.

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Updated Sept. 30

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Andrew Sheeler covers California’s unique political climate for the Sacramento Bee. He has covered crime and politics from Interior Alaska to North Dakota’s oil patch to the rugged coast of southern Oregon. He attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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