LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — Outdoor playgrounds have become a political battleground with parents arguing they are a pandemic outlet that kids need. This week’s reversal by California health officials has a lot of kids and parents overjoyed.
“I love it, I think it’s amazing, I think it’s definitely something we need with the kids, especially in this time,” said parent Portia Ampuvia.
Ampuvia’s 4-year-old daughter and many other kids are taking full advantage of the reopened playground at Santa Monica’s Clover Park. It’s one of the hundreds to reopen all over California.
The state and LA County reversal on playground closure means swings are no longer zip-tied and a lot of yellow tape is gone.
With LA schools shutdown, the timing is ideal.
“Kids need to go outside. They’re stuck inside all day on Zoom. It’s a necessity, I believe,” said nanny, Rachel Phillips.
More than a dozen state lawmakers have lobbied for the change touting the benefits for millions of kids, especially in low-income communities.
“With that joy that we’re gonna be able to have kids go play on playgrounds also comes a little bit of a fear. We have a responsibility now as parents to ensure we’re not congregating, we’re not breaking the rules, we’re wearing our masks. We have to be responsible because this is real,” Lorena Gonzalez, CA State Assemblywoman said.
More than 33 million Californians remain under a stay-at-home order as COVID-19 numbers keep shattering records and many ICUs are at or near capacity.
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However, with precautions, pediatric specialists say playgrounds are not a likely danger zone.
“Playgrounds, being that they’re outdoors, tend to have a lot more space, then I think that the risk is a lot lower and people should really focus on the other activities that may be higher risk,” Dr. Annabelle De St. Maurice, UCLA Health said.
According to Dr. De St. Maurice, the playground risk is even lower in areas with abundant sunshine, such as Southern California. UV light is a known germ killer.
“If there are objects outdoors that are contaminated with the virus, that virus can be rendered non-infectious just by the fact that it’s exposed to the sunlight,” Dr. De St. Maurice said.
Even so, parents are advised to avoid crowded playgrounds, and while there, keep children masked with the sanitizing of hands before and after all the fun.