Governor Gavin Newsom must have heard from a lot of people about the decision to include playgrounds among the things being closed under state stay-at-home orders. Because on Wednesday the state reversed itself and announced that playgrounds can reopen Thursday.
"Playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise," the revised order reads.
As KPIX reported Tuesday night, SF Supervisor Asha Safai was among those appealing to the governor to allow playgrounds to be open this month. He cited the situation for many people in his district, District 11, which includes the Excelsior.
"We have the second highest concentration of Latino population, which has been disproportionately impacted, we have a lot of renters, a lot of families in overcrowded housing that don’t have access to a backyard," Safai told KPIX.
As the Examiner reports, both Mayor London Breed and SF Rec & Parks Manager Phil Ginsburg embraced the news.
"Playgrounds are not luxuries,” Ginsburg said in a statement. “They are essential spaces, particularly for kids in dense, urban neighborhoods. A large body of research has shown playgrounds boost mental and physical health, sharpen problem solving and coping skills, and even ease the effects of trauma.”
And Breed tweeted that she was "glad" to hear the reversal, and that SF playgrounds would reopen Thursday. "Outdoor activity is important for all of our physical and mental health, especially children."
Still, playgrounds come with rules, which include no mixing of households, and no playdates of any kind. Children over 2 have to wear masks, and visits are limited to 3o minutes.
This will be welcome news for parents of small children who were staring down a very stir-crazy holiday season.
"There’s a lot of depression, there’s a lot of sadness, there’s a lot of children that just miss being around their friends, their family, being back in the school classroom with their teachers,” said Safai, speaking to KPIX. “It’s been proven that playgrounds are a way to help with the social and emotional wellness of children."
Photo: Bambi Corro