Get active and play outdoors

Release Date: 02 July 2020

Playgrounds and outdoor gyms are set to reopen next week, following their closure due to COVID-19.

In accordance with Government guidance, the borough’s 62 playgrounds and 11 outdoor gyms have been closed for the past 14 weeks. The Government has now announced that they can reopen from 4 July. Multi Use Games Areas and Skate Parks will also reopen this weekend.

Since the announcement Council contractors have been carrying out operational inspections of the equipment to ensure that they remain in safe, working order.

When the spaces reopen, it will not be possible for the Council to carry out regular cleansing of touch points such as gates and individual pieces of equipment. We do not have the resources to do this. Therefore, the use of play or outdoor equipment is done so entirely at the user’s risk. Those who use the equipment are reminded of the guidance which will be on display at all locations:

  • Parents and guardians must read this guidance and ensure their families follow it carefully for the safety of their children and others
  • All equipment is checked regularly to ensure it is safe for use, but it is not sanitised or disinfected
  • Play area facilities are shared equipment, please use responsibly at your own risk. 
  • Do not enter the play areas or use play equipment if you, or any member of your household, has coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating
  • You are advised that children should not use this equipment if they are clinically vulnerable
  • Make sure you have hand sanitiser with you before entering our play areas and encourage everyone in your family to wash their hands regularly with hand sanitiser, especially before and after using any play equipment
  • Encourage children to avoid touching their faces
  • You must maintain social distancing from others unless they are from the same household - current advice is to maintain at least 1m and consider wearing a face mask
  • Some play equipment can only be used by one child at a time while social distancing.  Please ensure your family waits at a safe distance if the play equipment is in use or return later
  • No food or drink is to be consumed within the play areas
  • Try to avoid busy times
  • If your family is wearing disposable PPE, please take it home with you or where provided use the bins – do not litter
  • Wash your hands when you get home

Users of the Multi Use Games Areas and gym equipment are also reminded of the above.  Kings Field skate park will have an imposed limit of a maximum of 25 skaters at any one time, with a restriction to one-hour use to ensure safe social distancing is adhered to.

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

“Outdoor activity is helpful for both physical fitness and mental wellbeing, and our local playgrounds have a special place in people’s lives. I am pleased that we can now reopen these facilities in line with Government guidance. We have carried out a risk assessment and will provide clear signage to guide individuals and families who want to use the equipment.

“But we must remember that COVID-19 is still a risk. Above all, please make sure that you keep your social distance and wash your hands – immediately – on your return home.”

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: P266/20

Updated: 30 July 2020