Lawmakers Push For Statewide Reopening Of Playgrounds
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Photo by Alexander Nguyen
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.
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.
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.”
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