The Wokingham Paper

Boys and girls come out to play: Wokingham playgrounds set to reopen over next week

Elms Field
Elms Field in Wokingham

PLAYGROUNDS across Wokingham borough are to have a phased reopening from 8am tomorrow. 

There are 99 such parks, and the council said that each one needs to be accessed in line with Government guidance. 

The task starts at 8am tomorrow, with members of the council’s localities team visiting each location. 

As such, not all parks will open at the same time, but it is expected that the sites will be open by Saturday, July 11. 

Top of the list will be bigger destination play areas, and subject to being deemed safe, it is expected that Dinton Pastures and California Country Park will be able to welcome youngsters by Tuesday, July 7. 

To help families plan their outdoor time, the council is to offer online a list of playgrounds that are open.

The council says that some play equipment will have notices asking people not to use them to ensure that two-metre social distancing rules can be met. 

For safety reasons, residents are asked NOT to use parks that are closed. Play areas will be inspected on a weekly basis.

Local town and parish councils will also be taking a staggered approach to opening their play areas across the borough to ensure that they are safe to use.

Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment and leisure, said: “We want our residents to come back to the play areas but, we want them to do so safely, which is why we are taking our time re-opening each site. 

“Our dedicated teams will be making individual assessments at each play area and implementing new safety procedures where necessary.  

“We encourage parents and carers to follow the guidelines for staying safe in the parks to make sure they can be enjoyed by everyone.”

And the news has been welcomed by the Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII), which says it is delighted that both playgrounds and outdoor gyms can be used again. 

Jon Dalton, Board Member of the RPII, said: “Following on from the government’s announcement that playgrounds can open from tomorrow, if a playground owner does not have a valid Covid-19 risk assessment in place before this date they will not legally be able to open. 

“We know that after many months of being closed, this will be hugely disappointing to many children, parents and carers, however if a playground is closed, adults and children should not attempt to use or access the equipment.”

Park life: the rules 

Play park users are asked to adhere to the following guidance to keep themselves and others safe when using the play areas:

  • Don’t use the play area if you have symptoms of coronavirus
  • Keep 2m apart at all times
  • Wash your hands before and after entering the playground
  • Catch any coughs or sneezes in a tissue and dispose of it safely
  • Only one child on equipment at any time
  • Only one parent or carer per child where possible
  • No food or drink to be consumed in the play area on equipment at any time
  • Bring your own hand sanitiser, gel or wipes
  • Limit your stay to 30 minutes at busy times
  • Take your litter home with you if the bins are full

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