Is it safe to take kids to playgrounds during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?

playgrounds during coronavirus

It ok to go to playgrounds during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic?

UPDATE 3 MAY 2020 – SA Health recommends parks, playgrounds and skate parks can begin to re-open – READ MORE HERE


UPDATED 29 March 2020 – Please note that Scott Morrison has just announced that all playgrounds, outdoor gyms and skate parks will be closed from Monday 30 March 2020. We have edited our article below to reflect this.

We never ever thought that we would say this, but for anyone wondering, public playgrounds are a NO right now. During this coronavirus pandemic it is not safe to have kids playing together in close proximity, and it may not be safe to be touching surfaces at a playground.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine recently found that coronavirus could be detected up to three hours after aerosolisation in the air, up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Even though there is some evidence that UV sunlight may help to kill viruses, research is still in its early stages and it’s not yet clear how, and how much heat, affects COVID-19.

If you’re keen to get out for fresh air and exercise, consider walking around your neighbourhood, or choose large open spaces like going to a large oval or park instead with a ball, scooter or bike. See our list of 50 great walks and hikes for families but remember if you go to any place and there’s many cars parked and a lot of people there, you need to go home. Always practise social distancing by staying at least 1.5 metres away from others on any walk. 

Government recommendation as of 29 March 2020 is to stay home as much as possible. Prime Minister Scott Morrison reiterated that you should only leave the house for these things:

  • Shopping for food & items – but only what you need and as infrequently as possible.
  • Medical appointments and compassionate reasons.
  • Exercise –  private training has been reduced from groups of 10 to now only 2 people maximum.
  • Work & Education – but only if you can’t work or study remotely from home.
  • All gatherings are now reduced from 10 people to only 2 people – although you can be with your immediate family. 

With more kids staying at home, and school holidays starting early, this is a smart edict from the government – we don’t want to see lots of families playing together at playgrounds where it’s hard to keep children a safe distance apart. We all have a duty to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus so that our elderly and vulnerable are not affected greatly, and so that our health system is not overwhelmed. Yes, this is a bit inconvenient and not at all fun, (we know – we’ve always relied on playgrounds to keep our kids from bouncing off the walls at home too).  However, it’s not a lot to ask to forgo some fun now and stay home as much as possible for the greater good of the community. It will help keep many people as safe as we can.

Just think, even if one person is saved from this horrific virus because we all missed out on a few fun trips to the playground, then it will be worth it. There are many who have had to sacrifice much more to save lives. All we have to do is stay home.

Edit: 27 March 2020 – City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters has announced that all their playgrounds will now be temporarily closed until further notice.  Read more here.

The City of Salisbury also announced on 27 March 2o20 that the popular St Kilda Adventure Playground is also closed until further notice. Read more here

St Kilda Playground Closed coronavirus

The Adelaide Hills  Council closed their playgrounds during the week, and now Mt Lofty Botanic Garden, which historically receives its largest number of visitors this time of year, is also closed – read more here.

*References:
https://hub.jhu.edu/2020/03/20/sars-cov-2-survive-on-surfaces/

https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc2004973?query=featured_home

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51938537

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/coronavirus-pandemic-covid19-how-parents-kids-can-stay-safe-sane

https://globalnews.ca/news/6707790/playgrounds-coronavirus/

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/09/parenting/coronavirus-parents-need-to-know.html

https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/playground-coronavirus-contagious/

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

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At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.

Image Source: Play & Go 

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