(Mayor's Press Release)
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced the City’s outdoor playgrounds are now open. San Francisco’s more than 180 public playgrounds will have signs reminding families of capacity limits and other guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Recreation and Park Department monitors will be stationed at the City’s busiest playgrounds for the first two weekends of operation to educate families about the new rules and ensure health guidelines are followed.
“We know kids and parents have been missing playgrounds since the end of March, and I’m excited that we’re now at a place where we can safely reopen them,” said Mayor Breed. “It’s important kids have a place to explore, have fun, and get some outdoor exercise. We hope this brings families and kids some joy during an otherwise challenging time.”
“We are thrilled to welcome families back to their neighborhood playgrounds and all the fun, connection, and creativity they inspire,” said Phil Ginsburg, General Manager, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. “For kids, play is serious business. It is essential to their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development. A trip to the playground relieves stress, reduces anxiety, and promotes healthy bodies and imaginations.”
Playgrounds are reopening with limits on the number of children and adults who can enter based on the size of the playground, and limits on the number of children who can use playground equipment at once. To comply with State regulations, playground visits must be limited to 30 minutes when others are present. Visitors of all ages must stay 6 feet away from non-household members and everyone 2 and older must wear masks. To maximize the number of children who can play, only one adult may accompany each child.
Eating and drinking are not allowed, and visitors should clean their hands before and after playing. Hand washing stations have been placed at the 51 playgrounds without restrooms through a generous donation by Kaiser Permanente and KABOOM!, a non-profit organization that helps communities build playgrounds.
Adults must actively supervise children at all times and avoid non-essential cell phone use. If a caregiver must take a break, children should stay by their side until they can resume. Children younger than 2 must remain within arm’s reach of a caregiver and are not allowed on play structures that hold more than one child at a time.
“Returning children to environments where they can learn and play has been a top priority since we were removed from the State watch list on September 1, and the re-opening of playgrounds follows our efforts re-opening out of school programs, community hubs and elementary schools,” said Dr. Grant Colfax. “Our successful and sustained re-opening is a result of every San Franciscan doing their part to keep our communities healthy and safer. We must continue these efforts for the sake of our children, our families, and our communities.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health offers families the following tips to play safely:
- Go to the playground during days and times when there are fewer people.
- Choose playgrounds within walking distance of your home instead of taking public transportation.
- Choose smaller playgrounds with fewer people over larger playgrounds that can hold more people.
- If your child is crying and cannot be consoled, remove them from the play structure or playground until they are calm, since loud crying can produce a large number of respiratory droplets.
- If anyone in your household is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, do not visit a playground.