City closes playgrounds and urges residents to practice physical distancing

City playgrounds are now closed. 

“With schools closed, we understand this will be disappointing news for some families and children, but the reason we’re doing this is to contain the spread of COVID-19,” said Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin. 

“The hard surfaces of playground equipment are not cleaned, so there is risk of virus transmission from them.” 

Edmontonians can expect to see signs like this popping up soon: 

Laughlin said the City will increase monitoring to ensure people follow the direction. 

Glenwood Park playground on March 25, 2020

It’s important to remember that speed limits in school zones, which are brought into effect by a City Council bylaw, stay the same.

He also announced that City spray parks will not open on schedule, toboggan hills are closed and physical distancing will be enhanced by removing some picnic tables in parks.

Staircase near Royal Glenora Club, March 24, 2020.

Parks, River Valley, staircases remain open, but….

Laughlin, who spoke to news media at City Hall, said parks and access to the river valley and trail and staircases remains open. He pleaded with people to remember proper physical distancing and proper hygiene when in spaces used by all.

“People who are at low risk of becoming sick, are still at high risk of spreading the virus,” said Lauglin, adding that the City will monitor these public spaces and may, if needed, take further action through an enforcement order. 

Mayor leads by example—from home

Meanwhile, Mayor Don Iveson refreshed the safety message, announcing in the morning that he was experiencing minor symptoms and would work from home for the next while. 

Keeping your safe physical distance

Please remember, if you don’t have to go out, don’t. 

If you are out, please remember two metres. Or six feet. That’s the distance health experts advise should be between people to protect them from the airborne coronavirus. 

“This applies to absolutely everywhere that you go in the city,” said Laughlin. “From walks on city trails to your local grocery store.”

Laughlin cited a video shared recently on social media where “far too many Edmontonians were using the stairs” next to the Royal Glenora Club. 

“We are not asking you to stop working out or spending time outside,” he said. “We’re just asking you to do it in a safe and physically distant way.”

Interim City Manager Adam Laughlin speaks to media on March 24, 2020

The good word

As has become his custom, Laughlin took time to praise the spirit of Edmonton he sees taking shape as the community comes together to protect itself. 

“From the people offering to run errands and buy groceries for seniors and those who are immuno-compromised, to the people thanking our front line workers and city bus drivers with special messages written in chalk on sidewalks—you are helping us all to get through this,” he said. 

“To the children drawing pictures and hanging them on their family’s windows for people to see when they walk by, thank you for the smile.

“I know that these little messages of hope help keep me going each day, as I’m sure they do for many of you as well.” 

Editor’s note: Want to read a little more about the special messages written in chalk. It’s here

And remember the latest City info on COVID-19.