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Behave responsibly in playgrounds or we will be forced to stop play!

Release Date: 19 January 2021

Families are reminded to use playgrounds responsibly during the current lockdown, following growing concerns about the spread of the new strain of COVID-19.

Under the national lockdown, councils are encouraged to keep playgrounds open, so that children can use them during their daily exercise. However, over the past few weeks there have been many reports in Richmond upon Thames of large groups of adults congregating at the playgrounds whilst supervising their children – meeting with other families, not social distancing or being considerate of any COVID safety measures.

Richmond Council is urging families to follow the advice:

  • If the playground is busy, come back when there are fewer people
  • If you are supervising your child/children – don’t gather with others from outside of your household
  • Don’t spend hours at the playground – let others enjoy the fun

If people continue to gather in mass at playgrounds, the Council may be forced to close them temporarily.

Cllr Julia Neden-Watts, Chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee for Richmond Council, said:

"I know how important playgrounds are for young children’s mental and physical wellbeing during the pandemic.

"We really don’t want to close our playgrounds, but our concern is that as the new strain of the virus is spreading at a worrying rate, they’re becoming less safe in terms of transmission. This is because too many people of all ages are congregating and socialising in them. It’s not just about the children but the sheer number of adults who gather closely together while their children play.

"Therefore, I urge parents and carers to use a bit more common sense. If the playground is busy – come back another time.

"We don't want to discourage residents and families from continuing to go outside for their once a day exercise. But people should not use this as an excuse to gather with other households."

Notes for editors

If you are a journalist and would like further information about this press release, contact Elinor Firth on 020 8487 5159.

Reference: P025/21

Updated: 24 March 2021