The Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII)* is delighted that the government have said that playgrounds and outdoor gyms can open from the 4th July, however they are today issuing important advice to parents and carers planning on visiting outdoor playgrounds with their children from 4th July which is that not all playgrounds in England will be re-opening following recent government guidance that requires all playground operators to have a valid COVID-19 risk assessment before doing so.
Jon Dalton, Board Member of the RPII, said: “Following on from the government’s announcement that playgrounds can open from the 4th July and subsequent guidance issued following this statement, if a playground owner does not have a valid COVID-19 risk assessment in place before this date they will not legally be able to open. We know that after many months of being closed, this will be hugely disappointing to many children, parents and carers, however if a playground is closed, adults and children should not attempt to use or access the equipment."
The government’s COVID-19 risk assessment covers issues such as identifying the maximum number of users per playground, setting a time limit for users, limiting the number of users for a piece of playground equipment and requesting only one adult accompanying a child.
The RPII has provided the following guidance for families planning to visit a playground safely:
- If the playground facility you visit has not yet officially been opened, please do not attempt to use, or access the equipment or area. Talk to your children about the possibility that it may not be open before you visit.
- Do not remove any temporary barriers to the playground or plastic fencing or unravel any swing seats or cables that may have been secured to put them out of use – this must be done safely by the owner or operator of the facility.
- Follow the current social distance guidelines when visiting and encourage your children to do the same.
- If the playground is busy, consider coming back at a later time. Talk to your children about this possibility before visiting.
- Wash your hands and your children’s hands before and after visiting. Take hand sanitiser with you and consider taking a bottle of water for if your children’s hands get covered in mud. Ensure your children are using hand sanitiser frequently.
- Look out for and pay attention to signage / instructions provided from the playground owner / operator
- Follow and adhere to all current government advice in addition to the above guidance.
The government guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms
*The Register of Play Inspectors International (RPII) www.playinspectors.com is the UK body for examining, accrediting, and certificating inflatable, indoor and outdoor playground inspectors to ensure that playground safety standards are adhered to and is endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).