PINE ISLAND, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Tim Walz enacted Executive Order 20-38 on Saturday allowing parks to open. However, many of the state’s playgrounds remain closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The CDC is recommending those playgrounds should stay off-limits because they are oftentimes crowded and can easily exceed the recommended guidance for gatherings. Plus, it can be challenging to keep surfaces clean and disinfected.
“We usually have one person open up the door, we all go right inside, wash our hands, wash the door handle, and retrace all of our footsteps,” said Heather Hovland.
Hovland and her family have been playing it safe when they return from bike rides and skipping rocks in the Middle Fork Zumbro River at Collins Park.
“It’s kind of our little oasis that we get to go to,” she said. “As soon as we get back home we sanitize everything. We sanitize our bike handles and all of that so it’s not too big of an issue for us.”
She’s had to explain to her children ranging in age from two to 11-years-old that the playground was off-limits due to the coronavirus.
“The first couple of times it was hard for them to not go to the park, but after those first couple of times, they’ve been pretty alright with it. They understand I think this one probably the least (the two-year-old) of all but she knows her sisters aren’t running off for it so they’re doing alright.”
There is some good news for the little ones. Pine Island announced on Monday its playgrounds are now open. However, the equipment is not sanitized and it asks that parkgoers to continue practicing social distancing.
Hovland says that will be the hardest part for the kids.
“I think the main thing is when we do go to the park, it’s going to be playing with other kids. This one is a small park. We’ve got the one there at Trailhead Park – that big one – I think that’s going to be a little more difficult to keep the kids separated.”
For more information on playground recommendations from the CDC, click here.