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UPDATE: City of Nanaimo playgrounds closed after citizens raise concerns

‘Enhanced cleaning procedures’ had been in place at playgrounds
City of Nanaimo’s Altrusa Venture Park playground at Beban Park. (City of Nanaimo photo)

UPDATE: The city announced Saturday night that its playgrounds are now closed.

In a statement, Nanaimo’s chief administrative officer Jake Rudolph acknowledged comments and concerns regarding playgrounds.

“Like many of you, we have been learning and trying our best to respond to these unprecedented times. In this case, we were attempting to keep our playgrounds safe for use. However, we have heard you and your concerns, and have now closed our playgrounds for public use. We apologize for any angst this caused,” Rudolph noted.

The Regional District of Nanaimo also announced its playgrounds are closed.

PREVIOUSLY POSTED: The City of Nanaimo wants its citizens to continue to be able to play outside in a time of self-isolation and social distancing.

The municipality issued a press release Saturday advising of “enhanced cleaning procedures” in playgrounds amid COVID-19. The city says it is power-washing with hot water, disinfecting equipment at 25 of its busiest playgrounds seven days a way, and disinfecting garbage cans three times a week. The city asks that playground users to wash their hands before and after visiting, and asks that people stay home if sick, cough or sneeze into a tissue or the crook of their arm, and avoid touching their faces.

“The City of Nanaimo asks that you continue to enjoy our parks and playgrounds, but do so responsibly by practising social distancing, which is defined as being two metres or six feet, and with your family or the people that you live with,” a city press release notes.

At a press conference Saturday, March 21, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry suggested that although B.C. isn’t under a lockdown, some of the ideals of a lockdown should be observed.

“This is what we’re talking about, in terms of making sure that we’re not gathering on the beach to watch the sunset, that we’re not playing basketball, that we’re not gathering together on the playgrounds and having playdates. We need to do that now, physically distant,” she said. “It is important for people to get outside, but do it with your family, do it with the people you live with and maintain distance from others. That’s really important.”

The City of Parksville announced Friday that it was closing all its playgrounds.

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