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Play areas open from Tuesday 4th August

3 August 2020

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Further to the announcement of Friday 31st July, the play areas on Elmhurst Park, Fen Meadow and Kingston Field will open tomorrow morning, Tuesday 4th August, initially for a trial period until Sunday 9th August. Please bear with us in the morning whilst the Locum Town Clerk and Gardener attend to each area and make them ready for use. There will be detailed information provided at each location for users to read.

The decision to open our play areas has not been taken lightly – Woodbridge Town Council has from the start of the pandemic aimed to set an example to residents and visitors by taking a cautious and safe approach to events in the public realm, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.

We are relying on users to adhere to our guidelines to ensure the safety of everyone who wishes to use the play equipment. We will do everything reasonably practicable to minimise the risk recognising that it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of COVID-19.

Users must recognise that there is a still risk of infection when using shared play equipment and that children, whilst at a lower risk of developing COVID-19 can still spread the virus. Users are expected to exercise care and comply with the official Government guidance for protecting themselves and others from COVID-19 at all times.
Users of the play areas must also adhere to the following Woodbridge Town Council guidelines;

- By using the play area, the onus and responsibility for the safety of themselves and others falls solely on the user. This does not absolve Woodbridge Town Council from its duty of care to users but puts the responsibility for following the rules solely on the individual.

- The play equipment is checked regularly for damage, wear and tear but will not be cleaned by Woodbridge Town Council. Parents/ carers may wish to consider sanitising each piece of equipment before use.

- Woodbridge Town Council cannot supply hand sanitising stations as experience from other Councils and the opening of our public toilets tells us that these go missing/ are misused. Users are therefore requested to provide their own hand sanitising gel/ liquid and apply it before entering the play area, after using each different item of play equipment, and when leaving the play area. Thoroughly sanitise your hands when you get home and do not touch your face at any time.

- Parents/ carers must accompany children when in the play area and clean, using antibacterial wipes, all surfaces of the play equipment touched/ used by their child. Wipes are not provided.

- Users must observe social distancing at all times – 2 meters where possible.

- Adhere to the number of users allowed in each area and per piece of play equipment as detailed below.

- Do not consume food or drink in the play area.

- If you or any member of your household has coronavirus symptoms, or have been advised to self-isolate, do not use Woodbridge Town Council play equipment.

- If the play area is busy please do not congregate at the entrance. Please move away from the play area and wait for a suitable time to enter.

If you are unable to adhere to these guidelines we would respectfully ask you not to use our play equipment.

Maximum number of users per play area

People should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Social interactions should be limited to a group of no more than two households (indoors and out) or up to six people from different households (if outdoors).

It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces).
The maximum number of users per play area is detailed below;
Elmhurst Park – 20
Fen Meadow – 6
Kingston Field – 30

Maximum number of users per piece of play equipment

Excluding items which should only be used by one user at a time the maximum number of users per piece of play equipment is two. This applies from the smallest to the largest pieces of play equipment.
The number of swing seats will be limited to one per bay (aside from Elmhurst Park where the ‘adult’ swings are far enough apart to both be in use).
The use of the play areas will be closely monitored, and sustained breaches of the guidance detailed above will see them closed once more. Coronavirus has not gone away and still thrives on close human contact, as shown by the local lockdown imposed on the north of England last week. We therefore reserve the right to close the play areas at short notice if we believe that the threat to the public has increased, or if Government guidance is updated.

Inclusive play for all

It was the intention of Woodbridge Town Council that when our play areas re-opened the first day would be available solely to children with disabilities. Sadly, with the short timescales now involved in re-opening the organisation required for such an event is not possible; we do however remain committed to holding events/ days in the future to encourage such use – please watch this space. We are also working with suppliers with a view to installing inclusive play equipment in the near future. We would therefore be delighted to hear from any parents and carers of children with disabilities/ special needs on the practicalities of holding such an event.

Future closure

To facilitate the repair of the matting beneath the swings in Kingston Field, the play area or parts of the play area will be closed to the public on Monday 17th August to ensure the safety of users and contractors.

We hope you are able to play safely and enjoy our wonderful open spaces.