Bay Area playgrounds reopening after state changes course

Bay Area counties moved to reopen playgrounds after California officials reversed course Wednesday on shutting them down in regions under a stay-at-home order.

The state’s order, announced last Thursday, drew swift backlash from parents, experts and officials who said there is little evidence that COVID-19 is spread at outdoor playgrounds and that playgrounds are important for children’s health.

The state’s reversal was widely celebrated and is being adopted by Bay Area counties that enacted the restrictions in the state’s order in recent days even though they had not yet dropped below a level of open intensive care unit beds that would have triggered the order to take effect in the region.

“Outdoor activity is important for all of our physical and mental health, especially children,” San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote on Twitter.

Changes by county include:

  • Alameda County: Playgrounds will be allowed to open, according to a county spokesperson. The county is aligned with the state’s stance on playgrounds.
  • Contra Costa County: Playgrounds are open, according to the county’s website. The county encourages those visiting playgrounds to maintain social distance, wear a face covering, wash or sanitize hands, visit during less busy hours and stay home if sick.
  • Marin County: The county adopted the state’s playground guidelines on Wednesday morning. The exact reopening timeframe for a playground will be left up to its operator, according to a county spokesperson. Schools that have resumed in-person instruction can use their playgrounds as well.
  • Santa Clara County: Playgrounds will be allowed to open, according to a county spokesperson.
  • San Francisco: Playgrounds will officially reopen on Thursday after an amendment of the statewide order, according to the city’s Recreation and Park Department. People can only visit a playground with members of their own household.

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