Don’t meet up in playgrounds, council urges

Posted On 14 Jan 2021 at 4:42 pm

Queens Park playground. Stock image by Jem Stone from Flickr

Brighton and Hove playgrounds may be closed if people continue to meet up there to socialise for long periods of time, the city council has warned.

Brighton and Hove City Council has asked people not to congregate in playgrounds because staying in one place means the new strain of the virus has a perfect breeding ground and could be spreading rapidly throughout communities.

It’s asking families to only use them for a short period of time and when quiet, and try to avoid the busiest times which are mid-afternoon and at the weekends.

Council leader Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty said: “We really don’t want to close our playgrounds, but our concern is that as the new strain of the pandemic is spreading at a worrying speed, they’re becoming unsafe.

“This is because too many people of all ages are using them to congregate and socialise.

“I understand how hard it is for parents to keep their children entertained and safe during these difficult times, and that it’s vital that we all follow guidance and do not meet other households indoors.

“But if the number of people gathering together in the play areas remains high, we will have to consider closing them to save lives and protect people’s health.”

The council is also asking anyone who uses a playground to carry out the following measures to ensure everyone is safe:

  • only use if they are not already crowded
  • sanitise your hands and your children’s hands before and after using play equipment
  • maintain two metres social distancing at all times, and,
  • limit the time spent in the playground.

The council also wants to remind people not to go to a playground if they or their children feel unwell.

The council runs 55 playgrounds throughout the city, and most are used frequently during normal times.

Councillor Mac Cafferty added: “We can only leave the house for the reasons permitted. We’d like to encourage people to make use of the available space near their homes.

“Staying for long periods at the playground can mean large numbers are gathering, so we would ask parents of younger children to also make use of all available space in parks for play where this is possible.”

“I know it can be incredibly difficult at the moment, so we’re also focusing on promoting great activities for people of all ages to get involved in to stay fit and healthy, without the need to use and gather in large numbers at particular spots.

“We’re keen to remind people of the importance of social distancing in areas of high footfall like our seafront, where we are refreshing our signage, and reaching out to businesses to help share the message about how we prevent the spread of Covid-19.

“There are lots of interesting walks and trails within the city that may be of interest, and that can all be done safely and following social distancing measures.

“There’s also our Active 60 Home Challenge with ideas on spending 60 minutes on keeping fit, and our webpages have links to many other ideas.”

The council’s website also has a page called Walks and trails to follow on your smartphone where residents can find the routes to seven different walks in the city.

They include the Brighton Movie Walk; A Flavour of the Lanes; Stanmer Park Healthwalk and the Sculpture Walk.

There are also countryside Walks and trail guides for each part of the city that can be downloaded to smartphones.

Cllr Mac Cafferty said: “We’d love you to take pictures of new discoveries on your walks. Share them on our Twitter and Facebook accounts.

“There are so many hidden treasures, amazing facts, beautiful buildings and interesting signs throughout the city.

“Above all, we want everyone to stay safe and remember the guidelines: hands, face, space.”

  1. Greens Out Reply

    Well close them then Phelim.

    It’s not bloody rocket science is it you buffoon.

  2. Billy Short Reply

    This is the right approach, actually.
    When you close recreational places the people just move elsewhere.

    We’ve seen our seafront busy and some have said we should therefore close the beaches.
    But if you close the beach, then the prom just gets busier. And if you then close the prom the road next to the prom gets busier. And so on.

    There are 300,000 people living in this city, with many off work or working from home, plus the shops, restaurants and other leisure places are closed. So we will take our permitted exercise and we have to go somewhere. It’s inevitable that some places will seem too busy at times.

    If instead we weren’t allowed outside then we’d probably all be killing each other at home.

    My thoughts are with all the parents trying to keep their kids exercised and entertained right now.
    We also have to cut some slack for kids and teenagers so-oh wanting to meet up with friends.

    The government probably should be asking us to wear masks when outdoors at the busier places.

  3. bill Reply

    Since lockdown I’ve never seen St Anns wells gardens so busy. People need the excersise but where can we go? Admittedly they do all congregate at this park in large groups but its up to them if they dont mind spreading it about I guess..

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