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Playgrounds Can Reopen Following An About-Face For California And LA County

L.A.'s Sycamore Grove Park seen on Oct. 1, 2020. (Mariana Dale/LAist)
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California has reversed course and will now allow outdoor playgrounds to stay open in regions under stay-at-home orders.

In updated guidance released this morning, the state had this to say:

"Playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise. Playgrounds located on schools that remain open for in-person instruction, and not accessible by the general public, may remain open and must follow guidance for schools and school-based programs."

Some criticized the state's original decision to close playgrounds, arguing that it would harm children who have no other options to play outside.

Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiologist and professor of medicine at UCLA's school of public health, said there is no solid data to show that outdoor activities are high risk for COVID-19.

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"We know how critically important it is for kids to get physical activity, so I think being smart, wearing your face mask, keeping your physical distancing while being allowed to enjoy the outdoors is probably going to help both our mental and our physical health."

The state's announcement doesn't automatically reopen playgrounds where local jurisdictions like L.A. County may have their own orders in place.

But within hours L.A. officials were following suit.

Echoing Brewer, county Supervisor Hilda Solis noted on Twitter that play is important for children and that "low-income communities of color living in dense housing often do not have access to a yard."

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