Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird today announced that the Lincoln Parks and Recreation Department has begun to gradually reopen the 89 city playgrounds that have been closed due to the pandemic. The five parks districts are reopening the playgrounds as they are inspected, and no schedule or timeline for specific locations is currently available. The city's goal is to reopen all the playgrounds by the Fourth of July weekend.
Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said playgrounds are usually inspected at least once each week during the busy season, but the inspections have not been conducted since the playgrounds were closed in early April. In order to open playgrounds safely, the equipment must be inspected by a Certified Playground Inspector prior to reopening. As the playgrounds pass inspection, fencing will be removed and swings will be reinstalled.
"We are excited to welcome children back to our playgrounds," said Mayor Gaylor Baird. "We know families are eager to find out when each playground will open, so we ask for the public's patience as our crews work through the steps involved to reopen safely."
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says playgrounds may now be open with proper safety precautions. Johnson said the decision to reopen local playgrounds was based on the CDC recommendation and guidance from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. He said "Play It Safe!" signage will be installed at each playground as they are reopened to remind the public to wear masks, stay six feet away from others, and to wash hands or use hand sanitizer after playing on a playground. Park restrooms and drinking fountains will remain closed for now.
More information on City parks is available at parks.lincoln.ne.gov.