State Allows Playgrounds Reopen, But They're Still Closed In LA County

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - State health officials reversed course today and allowed outdoor playgrounds to reopen, despite initially being closed under COVID-19 restrictions, but Los Angeles County's local health order still keeps them off-limits.

County officials could not be immediately reached for comment on whether the local restriction would be changed in line with the state. Individual counties are permitted to enact stricter health regulations than the state.

Los Angeles County ordered the closure of indoor and outdoor playgrounds in late November, responding to a local COVID-19 surge that saw the county surpass a five-day average of 4,500 new daily coronavirus cases.

The state's regional stay at home order, which took effect late Sunday night across all of Southern California, also ordered them closed. But in the face of pressure from parents and legislators, the state reversed course.

According to the state's website, ``playgrounds may remain open to facilitate physically distanced personal health and wellness through outdoor exercise. Playgrounds located on schools that remain open for in-person instruction, and not accessible by the general public, may remain open and must follow guidance for schools and school-based programs.''

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, led a group of a dozen legislators who sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom last week urging him to remove playgrounds from the stay at home order. They claimed opening playgrounds ``is necessary for the mental and physical health of children to have opportunities to expend their physical energy and play.'' They also noted that in some low-income neighborhoods, "families may have little to no outdoor space of their own available.''

Photo: Getty Images

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