ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As more of Albuquerque reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some confusion on the status of the city park playgrounds. Especially, with some closing signage going missing.
“It appeared at that time that the playground was closed because there were a lot of signs up saying that it was closed. But, today we’re here and there’s no signs up, so I just assumed that it was safe to play,” said Stephanie Avey, a local parent.
“Then there were signs and now they’re gone again, so it’s been tough. You have to keep checking the website to really know for sure,” said Leah Enright, a local parent.
There are some ‘closed’ signs at the playgrounds, but some playgrounds were seen with no signage. The Parks Department said it had to replace about 70 of its 400 signs. It also said most of the signs go missing because of windy or rainy weather. But, occasionally, people are to blame.
“And that’s too bad because they signs are really up there to protect children and to protect our entire community,” Dave Simon, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department for the City of Albuquerque, said. “For the most part, people have respected the signs and left them in pace.”
Despite the confusion and closure, most parents said they want playgrounds to be open. “I think it would be nice to have the playgrounds opened. I feel like our kids are kind of just cooped up,” Avey said.
“I don’t think it’s any worse than parents going into stores and grabbing products that has germs on them or something. I think it’s maybe less riskful because it’s out here in the open,” Lucia Flores, a local parent said. “Slowly, some things have been back open like…swim classes and stuff like that.”
“I’m supportive of what the city leadership decides to do. I get that it’s hard for kids but I think they can manage doing other things to stay busy,” Enright said.
Five different parks had kids playing on playgrounds. The city asks families to respect the closure.
“The first thing we always have to focus on is protecting our most vulnerable populations in our community, and that includes young children who need parents to help make smart decisions for them. So, we really want to be careful in protecting children throughout the course of this public health crisis,” Simon said. “They need grown-ups to make smart decisions for them. And smart decisions for grown-ups right now for kids is to minimize the risk for children, including keeping them off of playgrounds that are closed.”
Simon said they hope to reopen playgrounds as soon as possible but as of now, there is no set date for their reopening. The city playgrounds have been closed since late March. Park crews have still been sanitizing the playgrounds throughout the pandemic. When the playgrounds do reopen, Simon said people can expect guidelines to still be in place, like social distancing and wearing face coverings.
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