Published on: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 City Manager & Staff Blog

City-owned Playground Equipment Restricted Due to the Covid-19 Health Emergency

All City-owned playground equipment is restricted from use due to the Covid-19 health emergency. This action is being taken following a number of conversations with health officials and after reviewing the latest research on the transmission of the virus. While there is not a County order prohibiting the use of play equipment, such equipment must be kept sanitized and children need to be kept at a distance from each other.

Unfortunately, the City of Takoma Park is not able to ensure that the surfaces can be kept sanitized nor keep children from playing closely together on the equipment. For that reason, I am asking my Public Works staff to fence off the play equipment. And, we will be putting up signs and taking other actions to encourage folks to keep social distancing while playing.

In Takoma Park, there are both City parks and Montgomery County parks. The Montgomery Parks division of the Montgomery County Park and Planning Commission is not closing off its play equipment at this time but is advising residents to bring sanitizing wipes with them to wipe down any play equipment before it is used. However, it is unlikely that all residents will bring such wipes with them even if they are fortunate enough to have them.

The National Institutes of Health issued a news release yesterday, March 17, 2020, titled, “New Coronavirus stable for hours on surfaces.” The virus was detectable on some surfaces, such as plastic and stainless steel, for up to two or three days.

While cleaning, frequent washing of hands, and not touching faces may help keep most people safe, children play on play equipment with their whole bodies, including their faces. The risks of the spread of the virus are tremendous. We as a City are constantly evaluating the steps we need to take during this pandemic and appreciate the guidance of health officials in these efforts.

City parks will remain open for walking, running, biking and relaxing. In our parks, as in every other place, good social distancing and other health practices should be followed.

Thank you for your cooperation and support as we work to face this public health crisis together.