City, Massport, DCR Closes Down Playgrounds

With Boston students at home for the duration of the COVID-19 epidemic some parents have been finding it hard to entertain stir crazy kids. While bike rides, walks and visits to passive parks have been a welcomed relief to get some fresh air and exercise during these trying times the neighborhoodś playgrounds and tot lots are off limits.

Both the City of Boston and Massport announced last week that all city and Massport run playgrounds and tot lots and public restrooms that may be at these facilities are closed.

While play structures will remain closed with city employees disinfecting slides, jungle gyms and swings, passive parks like Noyes Park, Piers Park and Constitution Beach will remain open for daily strolls and exercise.

Children’s playgrounds and tot lots in Boston are temporarily closed,” said Boston Parks Department in a statement. However, parks and open space remain open for passive use. Please remember to practice social distancing when walking, biking, and running through the parks. The health and safety of park users is our top priority. City of Boston parks remain open at this time. Maintenance and operational functions continue uninterrupted.¨

Massport added, ¨Effective immediately, Massport is closing all playground equipment and park restrooms. This policy is consistent with the City’s recent closure of all playgrounds and tot lots, and the State’s closure of all DCR playgrounds, fitness areas, and skating rinks. All City, State, and Massport parks remain open for passive use on a regular schedule.¨

Although parks remain open for “passive recreation” , such as walking or jogging at this time, park users are advised to follow guidelines recommended by the Boston Public Health Commission. Everyone should practice social distancing by remaining at least six feet away from other people. Park users should wash hands, utilize hand sanitizer, and cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your inner elbow.

Even though parks are open, the city, Massport and DCR say people should limit time in public areas and avoid congregating in groups and stay home if you feel sick.

¨We are in regular contact with the Boston Public Health Commission for information and guidance,” said Friends of the Mary Ellen Welch Greenwayś Michlle Moon. ¨I hope that everyone is staying safe by hunkering and bunkering down this week. I know that many people are antsy to get outside, and especially want to see nature. I’m sure that many people will go to the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway, but the greenway may become crowded making it difficult to keep up social distancing.¨

Moon said there are a few additional tips and ways to adapt as you enjoy the outdoors.  

¨Avoid peak times when it’s likely more people will be out and go with your cohabitants, i.e. family, spouse, partner, roommate, pets. We’ll all be able to hang out with our friends later.¨

Moon said residents should select a walking, running, or biking route that has fewer people, such as local streets and avoid touching / sitting on benches and picnic tables.

¨Over the past few weeks, city parks across Europe have been closed since they were overcrowded with people,¨ cautioned Moon. ¨Sadly these restrictions might also be coming our way as well. In the meantime, please help keep our parks and greenways from becoming too crowded.¨

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