Residents of a Winnipeg neighborhood wrapped the playground equipment in large strips of yellow warning tape, worried that signs hanging from the city may not be enough to keep children out of the play facilities.
Andrea Chow, who monitors social media pages for the Bridgwater Trails Neighborhood Association, says he started seeing a trend on Facebook and Instagram last week.
“Many people complained of seeing large groups of children in play facilities and had concerns about the lack of social distance.”
The city closed its gaming and picnic facilities on March 27, but said it will leave the parks open as long as people follow the guidelines for physical expulsion.
Chow says the city has put signs in some parks and none in others. He contacted Waverley West Coun. Janice Lukes about making sure the residents got the message.
“You can wait for someone else to do it, or you can go to Lowe and buy some tape and take care of it yourself,” Chow told CBC News, standing in front of a Bridgwater Forest Park theater facility wrapped in bright yellow tape.
Lukes said he is getting up early to wrap swings and slides in other parks.
“They all respond to different levels of application. We have little signs somewhere on the site. But I just thought that a big yellow ‘fence’ warning tape helps. And it helps,” said Lukes in another small park nearby.
The signs were placed in the play structures and picnic shelters around Winnipeg, the city said in a statement, adding that “everyone has a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19”.
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Lukes says keeping kids out of gear is critical to this effort.
“I have triplets. When they were little … they’re little germinal things, right? So I just think it’s really important. It’s something I have the ability to do.”
Chow says that part of the challenge is to make people understand how important it is to maintain a proper physical distance, both for themselves and for their children.
“Part of the problem is that we don’t have any applications available at the moment. I think it would [have to] you come from the province, have teeth to enforce some of the rules, “said Chow.
“I’m not entirely sure who would do the checking. So right now it’s about raising awareness.”
Premier Brian Pallister has hinted that greater enforcement of the rules on physical spacing could come from the province.
For now, Lukes says that the playground signage should be as large and bold as possible, but he is reluctant to blame the city for not having immediately received sign-ups in every park.
“Public works are busy. They have a flood in motion. You know, we have a whole thing COVID-19,” he said.
Regardless of what measures the city uses to keep equipment off-limits during a health emergency, Chow and Lukes say they intend to keep the tape in their neighborhoods.
Chow says the message is especially important as the days get warmer.
“This is a long weekend coming up, so it should be a real test for the city.”