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San Francisco reopens playgrounds with modified health and safety guidelines

San Francisco Wednesday reopened playgrounds to children after more than seven months of closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

More than 180 public playgrounds reopened under new health and safety recommendations for parents and guardians of children who plan to visit and play. 

City officials said they are complying with state guidelines, only allowing visitors 30 minutes each when others are present. Visitors will also be required to stay 6 feet apart from people outside their household.

Everyone must wear a mask, including children ages 2 and up. No food or drinks will be permitted on the premises, and health officials advise people to wash their hands before and after visiting the playground.

The City installed 51 hand washing stations at playgrounds without restrooms, thanks in part to a donation from the nonprofit KABOOM! and Kaiser Permanente.

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Peter Snarr/SFBay Playgrounds in San Francisco, Calif. reopen Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 after more than seven months of closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mayor London Breed at a press conference Wednesday said the pandemic has been hard on children cooped at home with distance learning since April.

The mayor said:

“Kids are not in school. They’re in front of a screen on a regular basis and that is not good for them. We know it’s not good for them.”

The mayor added that in order for public schools to safely reopen, adults need to continue wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and practicing good hygiene.

Recreation and Parks General Manager Phil Ginsburg agreed with Breed on the importance of reopening playgrounds as a way to stimulate development in children. 

Ginsburg urged adults to be mindful of watching their kids at playgrounds and not be focused on their cell phones, saying:

“Pay attention to where your kids are and how they’re engaging in these spaces.”

In addition to reopening playgrounds, city officials announced multi-million dollar renovations of six playgrounds, including Merced Heights, Alice Chalmers, Sergeant John Macaulay, West Portal, Redwood Grove and Sunset Reservoir facilities.

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