The borough council’s play areas remain closed.

Play areas managed by West Norfolk Council are to remain closed despite the government go ahead to re-open from last Saturday.

The council said this week its play areas would remain closed while further “clarification and guidance” was sought and to allow COVID-19 risk assessments to be carried out.

The Walks play area in King’s Lynn is the only one to be re-opened at this stage because it has been risk assessed.

The rest will be re-opened on a phased basis, once satisfactory measures have been put in place, the council said.

It owns more than 80 play areas with around 1,400 individual pieces of equipment. 

Deputy council leader and cabinet member for culture, heritage and health, Elizabeth Nockolds, said: “We obviously want to open the play areas and ensure they are as safe as possible for children to use. 

“However, the lack of clarity in the government guidance as to what constitutes a reasonable level of cleaning and sanitisation means that opening all the play areas in the borough is neither practical nor achievable. 

“We have sought clarification and further guidance from government. In the meantime, we have COVID-19 risk-assessed the play area in The Walks, King’s Lynn, as this is the only play area where we have staff on site daily who can manage entry and exit from the area and undertake frequent cleaning. 

“I want to thank the staff involved for their efforts in getting the play area ready to open.

“We will look at all the other play areas on a phased basis, undertaking COVID risk assessments as we go. 

“We will only open play areas where we are satisfied that the measures we have in place ensure the safety of those using them.

“Many play areas are managed by parish councils and community groups, who I am sure are facing the same dilemmas as we are. 

“We have shared the current guidance with the parishes and will keep them informed of our approach and any revised guidance or clarification we receive.”

The council has repeated its call for people to respect the signs, barriers and tape in place on closed play areas. 

 “They are closed for people’s safety as play equipment is considered to be high touch and therefore carries an increased risk of spreading the virus through contact,” a council spokesman said.

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