County reopens playgrounds, outdoor rec facilities

Visitors limited to 30 minutes, required to wear masks

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2014 file photo

San Benito County officials are allowing playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities to reopen as the state announced a new set of guidelines and regulations.

The California Department of Public Health on Sept. 29 released an updated Covid-19 guidance that provides information on making outdoor playgrounds and outdoor recreational facilities a safe place for children and families to hang out again.

The guidance applies to outdoor playgrounds located in parks, campgrounds and other publicly accessible locations, according to a press release issued by San Benito County. Indoor playgrounds or family entertainment centers still need to be closed.

The state said, “COVID-19 continues to pose a severe risk to communities and requires all people in California to follow necessary precautions and to adapt the way they live and function in light of this ongoing risk.”

The state defines an “outdoor playground” as being fully outdoors, publicly accessible and free to enter and use. 

The playground must be operated by a city, state, county, or federal government and is designed primarily to serve nearby residents within a half a mile. Other guidelines include state-mandated outdoor spaces for preschools that include recreational equipment such as play structures, slides and swings.

The state requires visitors to keep visits to a limit of 30 minutes per day when others are present and no eating or drinking is allowed on the playground. 

Everyone 2 years old and above must wear face masks over the mouth and nose. Children must be supervised at all times to ensure face mask use.

Caregivers must monitor to keep adults and kids from different households at least six feet apart. The state also prohibits use of the playground when different households are unable to maintain a physical distance of six feet or when the capacity limit has been reached.

Visitors are required to wash or sanitize their hands before and after using the playground. 

The state recommends that visitors should consider going on different times or days to avoid wait times and potential crowded times. Elderly and persons with underlying medical conditions should avoid the playground when others are present.

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