Both Langley City and Langley Township have now closed public playgrounds to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Langley City announced playgrounds, including the parkour course in Penzer Park, would closed starting 4:30 p.m. Friday March 20.
“We decided to close all public playgrounds in response to public concerns that some playground users are not practicing social distancing as directed by B.C’s Provincial Health Officer,” said Mayor Val van den Broek. “We all have a role to play, and out of extreme caution, we are taking this step to protect the health and safety of our residents.”
The closure affects only playgrounds that are in City-owned parks, the statement said.
However, public parks, trails, tennis courts, sports fields, and sports courts remain open.
The Township of Langley followed the City’s lead and closed all playgrounds to the public on Sunday, March 22.
In a Facebook statement, Mayor Jack Froese said “As of Sunday morning, I have instructed Township of Langley staff to close all Township of Langley park playground apparatuses. As staff are doing the best they can to accommodate this request, please be patient as they can’t get to all the parks at once.”
Froese further reiterated that all scheduled sporting events have been cancelled on TOL playing fields, but parks, trails and playing fields remain open to the public and physical distancing is recommended while enjoying the open spaces.
The Langley School District additionally announced on Monday, March 23, that playgrounds on school district sites are closed.
“Our staff will be putting up yellow caution tape around equipment and signage today (Monday) and Tuesday,” said the statement on Twitter. “Please take note and continue to practice social distancing when outdoors.”
Langley mother Chantal Crowell has two children, age 10 and 15. She told the Langley Advance Times that they frequently go to the playground at RC Garnett as it’s right by their home.
“The swings are her favourite part at the RC Garnett playground. She’s also sad that she can’t go and play basketball. There’s been a few tears shed over not being allowed to go to the park,” Crowell said.
Though she noted this time is difficult for her daughter – not one for sitting still – the ban is tremendously important in playing a part in curving this virus.
“If we are all out at these playgrounds we are spreading germs. Hundreds of hands touch these play structures on a daily basis. Hands of those who might be a carrier of the virus and not yet know it. It only takes one infected person to touch any part of a structure and BAM – so many more contract it,” she added.
Crowell wholeheartedly believes by staying home, the spread of the virus will slow. The uncertainty of when playgrounds will be reopened does force her to get creative with caring for her children and keeping them entertained.
“Yes, it’s hard to be stuck at home with kids, especially for those who don’t really have a yard for the kids to play in but at least we know we are doing our part. The faster we all jump on board the faster life can get back to normal,” Crowell continued.
Crowell said more stationary and isolated pastimes will have to do for her daughter for now.
“To try and keep her busy we’ve been going for walks close to home, dribbling the basketball in the driveway, playing board games, colouring, reading and some painting.”
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