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‘Bring a towel and wipe down after use’ - guidance issued as outdoor gyms and play areas reopen

PUBLISHED: 16:22 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:22 06 July 2020

The play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz Coates

The play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz Coates

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Relief is in store for fitness fans and children who have looked longingly at equipment declared off-limits during lockdown.

The play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz CoatesThe play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz Coates

In common with much of the leisure and hospitality sector the government has said outdoor gyms and play areas can reopen from July 4.

Across Great Yarmouth it means allowing access to some 80 facilities, which the borough council says people have been using anyway despite attempts to close them.

In a statement, Great Yarmouth Borough Council said: “We have more than 80 play areas spread across the borough, containing hundreds of individual pieces of play equipment.

“Even during peak lockdown, when ‘closed’ signage was put up and the grass allowed to grow at play areas to deter usage, we had reports that some were still in use by some families.

The play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz CoatesThe play area at Mill View in Ormesby is currently closed but is due to reopen by the middle of July 2020 as the borough council works to cut grass and put up signage at all 80 of its sites including outdoor gyms Picture: Liz Coates

“Many of our play areas are not fenced and those that are have very low fencing.

“With play areas now allowed to reopen, there is a community expectation they should be open and usage will increase whether they are ‘officially’ open or not.

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“We’re therefore taking a practical, common-sense approach of reopening all play areas from mid July although providing clear guidance at each site to encourage social distancing and safe and responsible usage by those families who choose to use play areas.

“Crucially, please wash your hands prior to arrival, use hand sanitiser or wipes if you have some and ensure you wash your hands as soon as you return home.

“If using the outdoor gym, users are asked to please bring your own towel and hygiene products, and wipe down equipment after use.

“Alongside providing the additional guidance on responsible usage, the council will continue its routine health and safety inspections of equipment.”

The spokesman added that the reopening would be phased with some likely to be in use earlier than others as signs were put up and the grass was cut.

“People will see that a site has officially reopened when the signage goes up,” he added.

Meanwhile Norwich City Council has made the decision to keep play areas and outdoor gyms closed for the time being.

A statement said: “By keeping playgrounds closed, we are doing what we can to prevent a spike from occurring, which we feel is the most responsible course of action for the people of Norwich.”

The decision will be reviewed in two weeks’ time.


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