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No Excuse For City Playgrounds To Remain Closed

It’s fairly unfathomable that Jamestown’s playgrounds still aren’t open a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifted restrictions on play areas.

The city’s network of playgrounds is a selling point for those with young families and likely one of the reasons those with children choose to pay the city’s gargantuan property taxes each year. Those families have spent months explaining to their children that life will eventually return to normal, a pretty tall order when children are seeing the familiarity of school and the social stimulation it brings ripped away. There are no amusement parks and no youth sports this summer. There are beaches and outdoor activities, but let’s face it, most children get tired of hiking and nature walks pretty quickly.

What’s left, unless you have the means to spend the summer traveling, are playgrounds.

Playgrounds must open safely. No one wants to spread COVID-19 through the area’s children. But CDC guidance is straightforward — outdoor areas, like playgrounds in schools and parks generally require normal routine cleaning, but do not require disinfection. The CDC recommends that disinfectant not be sprayed on outdoor playgrounds because that is not an efficient use of supplies and is not proven to reduce risk of COVID-19 to the public. High-touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, should be cleaned routinely. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (mulch, sand) is not recommended. Sidewalks and roads should not be disinfected.

How difficult is it to come up with a plan to regularly clean these areas? What have parks employees been doing for the past three months? There are no festivals or softball leagues to organize. Prepping for playground and park use would seem to be one of the few remaining priorities.

Open the playgrounds. Quickly. Neighboring towns and villages have already done so, including Fredonia, which is in an area that has had far more COVID-19 infections than Jamestown. Move quickly Jamestown. There should be no excuses for the playgrounds to be closed another day.

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