Harlow Council will reopen its 43 outdoor playgrounds when it is safe to do so and after it has fully considered health and safety guidance issued by the government.

On 26 June 2020, the government issued detailed guidance for managing playgrounds and have said that playgrounds will be allowed to reopen from 4 July 2020 if they can do safely. The guidance can be read at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms

The council has issued the following statement on its playgrounds:

“We are looking at the potential of a phased reopening of playgrounds at the end of July. In addition to regular maintenance undertaken by the council, our 43 play areas are reviewed independently on an annual basis to ensure they comply with the guidance and national standards at that time. These inspections were due to take place this spring but were postponed due to the lockdown. We are in the process of arranging these essential inspections. These inspections will help us look carefully at and consider what additional safety measures and extra inspections we may need to take to enable government guidance to be followed in these facilities.

“With 43 public playgrounds in Harlow it will take some time to review the measures needed in each one and they must have had their annual independent inspection before they reopen. Therefore we will not be able to reopen them from 4 July. Playgrounds will remain closed for now and should not be used.

“We know that this will be disappointing for some families and that playgrounds are important to the health and wellbeing of children. But we take health and safety very seriously and our role in helping to prevent the spread of this virus from people using our facilities. We will only reopen our playgrounds when we are confident that they are as safe as they can be.

“The phased reopening of tennis courts, multi-use games areas, the outdoor gym in the town park and the skate park are also planned for the end of July. Similar guidance is being reviewed for these facilities too.

“Although playgrounds and other facilities will not be reopening at this time, our range of parks and open spaces remain open to all and have been accessible throughout the pandemic.”

Further updates on progress will be issued by the council