As a result of community members not respecting the requirement for social distancing, The City of Calgary is closing City-operated playgrounds (equipment only) effective immediately.
City Parks crews will require a few days to cordon off all 1,100 City-operated playgrounds in Calgary. During this time, The City asks all Calgarians to respect this decision.
Unfortunately, not all City park users respect the need for social distancing during our state of local emergency. With playgrounds being a community-gathering place, social distancing is critical as all citizens, regardless of their age, are at risk to transmit the COVID-19.
The decision also recognizes a collective effort to control the spread of COVID-19 locally and elsewhere in Canada through playground closures.
"We've made the very difficult decision to close down playgrounds as it's just not healthy for anyone at this time to keep them open," said Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson. "We understand the impact this move has on kids and families. It's hard to remove a trusted space for kids to play right now in the face of schools and daycares closing. But we need to make these sacrifices in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the coming weeks."
The City encourages its partners at the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) and Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) to take similar measures with their play equipment.
City parks remain open
While City-operated playgrounds are closing, Calgary's parks are and will remain open. Calgary has 8,000 hectares of parks spaces, including a variety of natural areas and nearly 1,000 km of pathways.
To minimize the spread of germs, park users are asked to stay at least six feet apart and avoid touching equipment with hard surfaces as they are not disinfected regularly. Use of City park amenities is done at one's own risk.
In addition to providing opportunity to get some exercise outdoors, City parks provide citizens with ample room to practice social distancing while still feeling connected with the natural environment.
Studies have shown that time in parks can increase immune function which helps to fight off infections and diseases. Being outside increases vitamin D and even a short walk through a park has been found to lower stress, anxiety and provide a boost of happiness.
Visit Calgary.ca/parks for more information.