After seven months of closure due to COVID-19, San Francisco city officials on Wednesday announced the city’s more than 180 outdoor playgrounds have reopened.
Families and children are being allowed to return to the playgrounds, but with new capacity limits in place, as well as Recreation and Park Department monitors 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. “It’s important kids have a place to explore, have fun, and get some outdoor exercise. 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 save room, only one adult is allowed to accompany each child on the playground, and adults are being asked to supervise children at all times and to avoid non-essential cellphone use while at the playgrounds.
Children under 2 years old must remain within arms reach of their caregiver and are barred from playing on structures that hold more than one child at a time. Also, all children over 2 are required to wear masks.
Visitors are prohibited from eating or drinking at the playgrounds.
Also, hand-washing stations have been placed at 51 city playgrounds that don’t already have restrooms.
Recreation and park officials are also asking that caregivers remove children who are crying from playgrounds, as loud crying can produce droplets, which may spread COVID-19.
In addition to the reopening of playgrounds, the city also announced six of the city’s playgrounds have recently been renovated under the Let’sPlaySF! initiative, a partnership between the Recreation and Park Department and the San Francisco Parks Alliance.
“These renovations could not have come at a better time for families across San Francisco. Every child deserves to play in a safe, clean, and fun environment, and these updated playgrounds will serve our young people for years to come,” Breed said.
The newly renovated playgrounds include the Merced Heights playground at 801 Shields St.; the Alice Chalmers playground at 670 Brunswick St.; the Sgt. John Macaulay playground at the corner of Larkin and O’Farrell streets; the West Portal playground at 131 Lenox Way; the Redwood Grove playground in John McLaren Park at 100 John F. Shelley Drive; and the Sunset Reservoir playground at 1900 28th Ave.
According to recreation and park officials, the parks were chosen for the renovations by a community task force that used criteria like neighborhood income and density, as well as the presence of unhealthy chemicals in playground materials.