Update, 12:34 p.m.: Calvert Collins-Bratton, the president of the Park Board, says playgrounds in public parks will close at 9 p.m. tonight. Golf courses are also closed, but parks and trails remain open. Another win for public health. I’ll keep the original story below, just in case any of you are tempted to break the rules. Stay away from others!
Original Story: Public parks are open, but that doesn’t mean you should take your kids to the playground. We were tagged in this tweet showing video taken at Flagpole Hill, near White Rock Lake, which you can see was quite lively yesterday afternoon. Not a lot of social distancing going on.
@dallasnews @DallasMayor @mWilstory @AdamMcGoughD10 @wfaa why are children still allowed to play on this equipment at Dallas Parks when cities across the world are fencing these off to prevent spread of COVID 19? pic.twitter.com/oP6CaP8qqp
— 1814magazine (@1814MAGAZINE) March 17, 2020
Jesse Moreno, a member of the Park Board, said he emailed staff yesterday about whether they’ve changed their cleaning and disinfecting procedures for playgrounds in the wake of coronavirus. “The answer is we have not changed our practices, and the reason behind that is we’re in communication with the CDC to figure out what they recommend,” he said. “We can’t give someone 100 percent assurance that even if the playgrounds are disinfected that there is no risk. … There’s a possibility we’ll be shutting down playgrounds.”
He expects that decision to come in the next 24 hours. (I’ve emailed the city and the mayor’s spokesman for comment. I’ll update when I hear more.)
Going outside is one of the cornerstones of maintaining your sanity during social distancing. Go to a park and walk around, toss a ball, play tennis, jog—but stay away from others. Playgrounds are designed to encourage contact, and you should keep that in mind, whether or not the city closes them or disinfects them more often. And we absolutely do believe it’s time for the city to close them.
“There might not be a family at the playground when you get there,” Moreno says. “But we don’t know when the last time someone came into contact with those surfaces.”