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Cambridge City Council

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City council announces parks to remain open at this time but play areas to close

News release from 23/03/2020

IN RESPONSE to the coronavirus (Covid-19) emergency, Cambridge City Council has announced that while its parks will remain open until further notice, its play areas are to close with immediate effect.

The council recognises the significant wellbeing benefits that access to our parks, commons and play areas provides during this pandemic. 

At this time the council has not taken the decision to close its open spaces and access will continue if people follow the national advice about social distancing, staying at least two metres apart and isolation. 

The council asks that people take any litter home with them to avoid exposing maintenance staff to the risk of coming into contact with the virus.

The council has also asked that people use their local parks and do not travel to busier areas. The council will close car parks at Lammas Land and Cherry Hinton Hall from Tuesday morning.

The council has decided to close play areas with immediate effect. Closures also apply to outdoor gym equipment, tennis courts, table tennis tables, bowling greens, skate ramps and multi-use games areas within our open spaces.

After considering the risks to public health, the availability of hand wash facilities and the difficulty in keeping children at a safe social distance during play, the council believes it is in everyone’s interest that these play facilities are closed.

The situation will be reviewed periodically in line with advice from the government.

Cllr Katie Thornburrow, Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, said: “Closing Cambridge’s playgrounds and play areas is one way we can help limit the spread of coronavirus. 

“I am confident people will understand that we have to put the safety of our communities first, particularly our vulnerable residents. 

“Making children keep to the recommended two metres distance in a busy playground or play area is difficult. The play equipment, which is used by a large number of small hands, is unable to be disinfected and so represents a high cross-contamination risk of the virus. 

“Our decision also means we are doing what we can to protect our NHS from coming under intolerable pressure. 

“Cambridge’s parks and open spaces are still open but I encourage everyone to be responsible and stay at least two metres apart whilst they are enjoying the fresh air and exercise.”