Over 200 playgrounds and eight skate parks in Surrey will re-open by June 1, the City of Surrey and Surrey Board of Education said in a joint statement Thursday.
The city has 125 playgrounds in its park system while 101 elementary school playgrounds will be re-opened.
It is expected that Surreyites will “be mindful of appropriate personal hygiene practices before, during and after outdoor play,” and physical distancing between children should continue to be observed by kids and parents, according to the statement.
The city and board said the decision to re-open was made according to provincial COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines, which state “playgrounds are a safe environment.”
B.C. has a very low rate of active COVID-19 cases. There are 244 active known cases of the disease in the province, as of May 27, and 2,144 people who tested positive have recovered.
"We are moving forward carefully into Phase 2, assessing our progress week by week, and we are encouraged by what we have seen so far,” stated Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry on May 27
"COVID-19 has a two-week incubation period, which means any new cases that are a result of the easing of restrictions will start to appear over the coming week.
"With this in mind, let's continue to take advantage of parks and other activities closer to home, and look to increase social interactions only after fully considering the risks to you and your family.
Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education, echoed Henry, stating: "Playgrounds promote physical activity, which in turn improves attention and decreases stress and anxiety. But we need to ensure that children are playing safely – encouraging physical distancing as much as possible, minimizing contact with other children, and washing hands before and after play.”
There are no stated plans to conduct routine cleaning of the playground equipment by civic staff, as has been seen in some other jurisdictions and countries.
The City of Surrey is also re-opening its skate parks, according to the statement. The following eight skate parks will be re-opened for May 30 with physical distancing requirements and size limits for the number of users: Bear Creek Park; Royal Kwantlen Park; Fraser Heights Park; Cloverdale Fairgrounds; South Surrey Athletic Park; Tom Binnie Park; Surrey Sport & Leisure Complex; Guildford Recreation Centre
“Surrey’s COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team will be monitoring the sites to educate the public and assist, should any concerns be observed,” the city noted.