Playgrounds and basketball hoops in Delta, including those on school property, will reopen next week.
As part of the city’s phased reopening of public amenities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, playgrounds and basketball hoops will be available for use starting Monday, June 1 as maintenance checks allow.
The city reopened sport courts, artificial turf fields and other outdoor amenities like disc golf courses and lawn bowling greens on May 8, followed by skate parks and bike parks last week.
According to a press release from the city, the safe use practices exhibited by Delta residents at those amenities are what have allowed for the reopening of playgrounds and basketball hoops on June 1.
“I am very proud of the community for our combined efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19. The actions of all individuals are serving to protect the community as a whole and have allowed us to move forward with safe phased reopening of outdoor recreation amenities. I am excited to see kids back on playgrounds, experiencing the simple joys of being kids,” Mayor George Harvie said in a press release.
Delta Board of Education chair Val Windsor said the school district will be reopening playgrounds at its schools in alignment with the city’s plans and the phased-in return of students to schools, adding maintenance teams will begin the task of putting the basketball hoops back in place on June 1.
“We ask parents to ensure that their children practice safe physical distancing while using the school playgrounds and hard courts, and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer afterwards to reduce the risk of COVID-19,” Windsor said in a press release.
The city says it is imperative that all users of these newly opened outdoor amenities follow the posted signage, adhere to guidelines for safety and co-operate with Delta’s Park Ambassadors, who will continue to educate patrons about physical distancing. Parents are especially encouraged to help their children practice safe physical distancing on playgrounds.
Park and playground users are encouraged to follow these procedures to help control the spread of COVID-19:
• Keep at least two metres (six feet) away from people from other households
• Avoid large groups and gatherings
• Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently
• Avoid touching your face
• Cover your coughs and sneezes
• Limit the use of the amenities at busy times
• Stay home if you are feeling unwell, with no exceptions
During Thursday’s virtual townhall, Harvie also recommended playground users bring hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes to use immediately before and immediately after using the equipment.
“The City of Delta can’t be there on a full-time basis to clean everything and disinfect every single piece of playground equipment throughout the school district and also our parks. So it’s up to the people to be smart and ensure you’re staying healthy,” he said.
Regarding reopening other sport and recreational facilities such as ice rinks, Harvie said staff will be bringing reports to council for its next regular meeting on Monday, June 15, but “we’re a ways away from that.”
“We are setting up virtual meeting with our indoor and outdoor sport users to see where they’re at with their associations … so we’re waiting for that information. So that’s still to be determined,” Harvie said.
The mayor said the city is looking to open its outdoor pools first, pending the go-ahead from provincial health authorities, but stressed how the facilities operate when they do welcome patrons back is “going to be different.”
“[The situation is] changing all the time. We’re going to be opening them properly, but not until we have permission.”
Meanwhile, playgrounds at all Surrey parks and schools are also set to reopen on June 1.
The City of Surrey also announced that it is re-opening eight skate parks on Saturday, May 30, “with physical distancing requirements and size limits for the number of users.”
— with files from Lauren Collins
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