Skate parks, playgrounds and games areas in East Devon must remain closed in the fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.
East Devon District Council (EDDC) announced today, Friday, June 19, that the leisure areas will not reopen ‘for the time being’ because the authority could not monitor the sites for social distancing or regularly clean equipment to stop the spread of the virus.
The council urged those ignoring rules and using closed skate parks to stop – because they were putting themselves and others at risk of the disease.
Cllr Geoff Jung, Coast, Countryside and Environment portfolio holder for the district council, said: “I appreciate that young people want to use our skate parks and multi-use game areas, and this is something we hope can be achieved in the near future, however, there is no specific government guidance for these facilities.
“Because of the way these facilities are used, we must, in the interest of public health, consider them in the same way as our playgrounds and apply the government guidelines for those accordingly.
“We are constantly reviewing all our facilities and it is hoped all play areas will be considered safe to be used shortly as the government further relaxes the emergency measures.”
East Devon District Council said it has received ‘a number of enquiries’ from people keen to see the skate parks and multi-use games areas re-open.
EDDC said it is following government guidance that playgrounds, and similar facilities, must remain closed.
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An EDDC spokeswoman said: “These facilities attract large numbers of people and the activities they are used for would, by their nature, lead to breaches of social distancing.
“The council would be unable to regulate social distancing at these sites or clean all surfaces to the frequency needed to prevent the potential for the virus to be present.
“The safety of our residents is paramount and we, as a council, have worked very hard to ensure that their health and wellbeing is protected from any identified risks from coronavirus.
“No one wants to undermine the measures and sacrifices our residents have made over the last three months to control the spread of coronavirus.”
She added: “The government has acknowledged that playground sites – which would include skate parks – are a risk and their guidance to us is to keep them closed.
“We understand that there are some people who are ignoring this advice and using the skate parks in our district.
“We appeal to you not to. You put yourself and others at risk by doing so.”
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