After seven months of closure due to COVID-19, San Francisco officials on Wednesday announced the reopening of more than 180 outdoor playgrounds in the city.
Families and children are being allowed to return to the playgrounds, but with strict new capacity limits and rules in place. Recreation and Park Department monitors will be stationed at the city's busiest playgrounds to educate families about the new rules.
"We know kids and parents have been missing playgrounds since the end of March, and I'm excited that we're now at a place where we can safely reopen them," Mayor London Breed said in a statement. "We hope this brings families and kids some joy during an otherwise challenging time."
As part of the new playground rules, visitors are being asked to limit playground times to 30 minutes when others are present. Additionally, all children must stay 6-feet apart from those who are not in their immediate household.
To preserve enough space, only one adult is allowed to accompany each child on playgrounds. Caregivers are being asked to avoid using cellphones and to supervise their children at all times, and remove them if they start crying to prevent virus-spreading droplets.
All children over two years old are required to wear masks. And children under two must stay within arm's reach of their caregiver and are not allowed to play on structures that hold more than one child at a time. Visitors are also prohibited from eating or drinking at the playgrounds.
"Yes, there are rules," Recreation and Park Director Phil Ginsburg said during press conference Wednesday at Merced Heights Playground. "Let’s all do the right thing so that our children and San Francisco families can be healthy."
Hand-washing stations have also been added at 51 city playgrounds that don't already have restrooms, officials said.
In addition to the reopening of playgrounds, officials also announced that six of the city's playgrounds have recently been renovated under the Let'sPlaySF! initiative, a partnership between the city and the San Francisco Parks Alliance.
— Daniel Montes, Bay City News and Marco Siler-Gonzales, KQED (@mijo_marco)