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RPII Media Statement on Playgrounds Re-opening

The RPII is delighted that the government have said that playgrounds and outdoor gyms can open from the 4th July, however they are today issuing important advice to parents and carers planning on visiting outdoor playgrounds with their children from 4th July which is that not all playgrounds in England will be re-opening following recent government guidance that requires all playground operators to have a valid COVID-19 risk assessment before doing so.

Jon Dalton, Board Member of the RPII, said: “Following on from the government’s announcement that playgrounds can open from the 4th July and subsequent guidance issued following this statement, if a playground owner does not have a valid COVID-19 risk assessment in place before this date they will not legally be able to open. We know that after many months of being closed, this will be hugely disappointing to many children and parents and carers, however if a playground is closed, adults and children should not attempt to use or access the equipment.

The government’s COVID-19 risk assessment covers issues such as identifying the maximum number of users per playground, setting a time limit for users, limiting the number of users for a piece of playground equipment and requesting only one adult accompanying a child.

The RPII is also aware that there are a number of smaller playground operators that are not aware that they need to adhere to the new government guidelines and have a valid COVID-19 risk assessment prior to opening and so is calling for all playground owners to ensure they complete the risk assessment and also have an up-to-date playground inspection prior to opening. The RPII has provided guidance for playground operators in how to interpret the COVID-19 risk assessment and re-open safely, which will be available on the website www.playinspectors.com today.

The RPII is expecting playgrounds to be very heavily used over the summer months due to the eagerness of the public to start using them again, so it is vital that playground owners complete the risk assessment and ensure playgrounds are thoroughly inspected to ensure a satisfactory level of safety is in place and also safely remove any hazardous temporary closure barriers prior to opening.

The RPII has provided the following guidance for families planning to visit a playground safely:

  1. If the playground facility you visit has not yet officially been opened, please do not attempt to use, or access the equipment or area. Talk to your children about the possibility that it may not be open before you visit.
  2. Do not remove any temporary barriers to the playground or plastic fencing or unravel any swing seats or cables that may have been secured to put them out of use – this must be done safely by the owner or operator of the facility.
  3. Follow the current social distance guidelines when visiting and encourage your children to do the same.
  4. If the playground is busy, consider coming back at a later time. Talk to your children about this possibility before visiting.
  5. Wash your hands and your children’s hands before and after visiting. Take hand sanitiser with you and consider taking a bottle of water for if your children’s hands get covered in mud. Ensure your children are using hand sanitiser frequently.
  6. Look out for and pay attention to signage / instructions provided from the playground owner / operator
  7. Follow and adhere to all current government advice in addition to the above guidance.

The RPII is the official body for examining, accrediting and certificating indoor, outdoor and inflatable play inspectors.

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