03/05/2020

South Australians should feel safe visiting parks and playgrounds once again now that there is no evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.

Chief Public Health Officer, Professor Nicola Spurrier, has written to councils advising them that provided signage and proper cleaning processes are in place, parks and playgrounds can be safely enjoyed by the public.

"The risk of COVID-19 transmission from outdoor parks, playgrounds and equipment is low and can be managed by following important social distancing and hygiene precautions," Professor Spurrier said in the letter.

Professor Spurrier explains that while there is evidence the coronavirus can survive on surfaces, its survival is highly variable and that with fewer cases of COVID-19 in the community, "the chance of equipment in parks and playgrounds being contaminated with coronavirus is very low," she said.

The letter outlines suggested cleaning and hygiene measures to be taken by councils including regular cleaning of play equipment with detergent-based products, especially during peak times. It also suggests that cleaning and disinfection programs for public toilets be increased.

Social distancing measures should remain in place, however.

"As part of opening public parks and playgrounds we strongly recommend that signage reinforcing social distancing (1.5 m from each other), size of gatherings (10 or less children at any one time) and hygiene requirements is prominently displayed on these facilities," the letter said.

While there was no official direction in place that mandated the closure of parks or playgrounds, many councils took precautions such as fencing or taping-off play equipment to prevent its use. Spurrier describes these measures as appropriate at the time but states that these facilities can be safely enjoyed again.

"Done safely, I strongly believe that the reopening of parks and playgrounds will send a message to our community that our collective efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 have been worthwhile.

"This, coupled with the opening of our schools, will further contribute to the health and wellbeing of our children," she said.