Outdoor gyms and playground to remain closed

Outdoor gyms and playground to remain closed

by Tom Martin (July 2020)

ANGRY parents are calling on Sefton Council to reopen playgrounds in the borough after it was confirmed they will remain closed - despite the government lifting restrictions.

The local authority claim “it is simply not possible” to reopen the borough’s playgrounds and outdoor gyms because they can’t keep them properly sanitised and safe to use due to coronavirus.

Sefton’s stance, say parents eager to see the facilities reopen - flies in the face of government advice allowing such outdoor facilities to be used again for the first time since March.

Many councils around the country have already allowed playgrounds to reopen, including neighbouring Liverpool City Council and West Lancashire Borough Council.

One fed-up mum, Vicky Jones, told the Champion: “I’m not sure how reopening pubs can be a priority and safe to go into but playgrounds can’t reopen?

“My two kids have been stuck indoors for months and they have been looking forward to going on the swings and slides again but can’t. I don’t get why they haven’t reopened yet.” Continued inside

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Another parent said: “Please can Sefton Council tell us when the children's playgrounds are being unlocked?

“Pubs open, shops open but our children they can't play on a swing?

“Other parts of England have unlocked playgrounds but not Sefton.”

The council say due to staffing levels, they are unable to sanitise the playgrounds because they have more than 100 playgrounds and more than 2,000 items of equipment that would need cleaning every day.

A spokesperson for the council said: “The council’s priority is keeping all our residents, especially children, safe which means this equipment will remain out of use for the time being.

“This is an ever-evolving situation, and as always, we will closely monitor further guidance from government as to when we can safely reopen our play areas and outdoor gyms.”

Meanwhile, Active Sefton is making preparations to re-open its indoor gyms, in line with the government’s guidance and plan to announce an opening date soon.

Increased cleaning schedules and sanitiser stations, online booking, additional work-out and changing space and direction signs will be among the measures in place when they do open.

Staff will undergo additional training to help them keep visitors and themselves safe and users will be asked to follow new protocols.

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