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Lawmakers Push For Statewide Reopening Of Playgrounds

A playground is unused and closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mission Bay Park, July 3, 2020.
Alexander Nguyen
A playground is unused and closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Mission Bay Park, July 3, 2020.

Lawmakers across California are pushing Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen playgrounds in the state.

San Diego, which is currently in the red tier of the state's reopening plan, has been allowed to gradually reopen bars, restaurants, gyms, the zoo and museums, but playgrounds are not currently part of any phased reopening plans.

Lawmakers Push For Statewide Reopening Of Playgrounds
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Last week KPBS looked into why California playgrounds are still closed indefinitely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Since then, San Diego Assemblymember Lorena Gonzales, D-80, has written two separate letters asking the governor for state guidance on the reopening of outdoor playgrounds and state park amenities.

“Playgrounds are essential for both the physical and the mental health of young kids and we should be able to figure out how to safely open them,” Gonzales said.

RELATED: San Diego Beaches, Parks And Restaurants Are Open, But Playgrounds Remain Closed

VIDEO: California Lawmakers Push For Statewide Reopening Of Playgrounds

She sent her first letter on Friday, the day KPBS published its story.

The second letter was issued Wednesday and has bipartisan support from 23 members of the Legislature.

“We’re not saying necessarily, 'Open up every playground.' We're saying, 'What is the protocol necessary and when can we look forward to this?'” Gonzales said. “It just doesn't seem like there is any guidance and so that doesn't seem an acceptable way to go forward. ”

So far, the governor has yet to respond to the letters. Gonzales and the other lawmakers plan to follow up in another week.

When reached for comments, the governor's office referred the matter to the California Department of Public Health, which hasn't responded as of press time.

“Our kids have really been taking the brunt of so much of this stay at home and quarantine orders," Gonzales said. "They've been understanding, they've been patient, but we've got to let them play.”

Some Lawmakers in California are questioning why Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet opened playgrounds in the state. Also,key findings from a statewide survey by the Public Policy Institute of California show Californians are divided on changing California’s landmark tax reform initiative, Proposition 13, and so far they don't favor bringing affirmative action back to California. Plus, misinformation went viral about California’s SB 145, which would change who gets added to the state’s sex offender’s registry. Top local officials, including Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City councilmember Barbara Bry, repeated some of the misinformation publicly. We’ll have a full fact check on it.