Community & Environment

Playgrounds still off limits to keep the community safe

Extra signs and security tape are going up throughout Hamilton to remind people the city’s playgrounds are closed to keep our community safe.

Hamilton City Council closed the playgrounds, including skate parks and basketball courts, when the country went to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 on 23 March. The Government has ruled playgrounds out of bounds under Alert Levels 3 and 4.

The measure is not only to discourage people from different bubbles gathering, but also because the virus can remain on hard surfaces for up to 72 hours.

Mayor Paula Southgate says playgrounds were shut to safeguard the community but not everyone is getting that message.

“It amazes me that people are prepared to risk their health and the health of their community by pulling down tape and removing signs. This gives kids the impression playgrounds are open, which is just not true,” Mayor Southgate says.

“While it’s tempting to relax our vigilance after so many weeks, we actually need to increase our efforts now more people are out and about. And we also need teens and caregivers to be aware of that.

“If we end up with lots of children from different bubbles using the same play equipment, we could also end up with the virus spreading through our community. That’s exactly what we’ve been working hard to avoid – no one wants to go back to Level 4.”

Hamilton’s parks and walking tracks are open, so children and caregivers can still enjoy the city’s open spaces if they want a change from their own backyard.

The rule is to keep play local but children can still run around outside, play tag, have leaf fights, take their scooter to the park, kick a ball around and enjoy the autumn weather, as long as they stick to their own bubble and stay two metres away from other people.

“We’ve worked hard to keep our playgrounds fun and up-to-date but they’re not the only way to play,” says Mayor Southgate. “We just need to stick it out for a while longer, and then we’ll all be back enjoying the city’s green spaces to their full potential.”

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