UPDATE: Windsor, Lakeshore, Kingsville, Essex closing playgrounds

Town of Lakeshore logo. Photo provided by Town of Lakeshore.

The towns of Lakeshore, Essex and Kingsville and the City of Windsor have joined Tecumseh and Amherstburg in closing playgrounds to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The Atlas Tube Centre is among the municipal and regional facilities ordered closed by the town’s administration to encourage social distancing, reducing the risk of spreading the virus. Lakeshore made its announcement Wednesday night, while Kingsville added its own Thursday morning.

The Lakeshore parks affected include Lakeview Park, West Beach, and the Belle River Marina. Also included are Comber Park, Geralyn Tellier Perdu Memorial Park, Leffler Peace Park, Millen Park, Optimist Park, River Ridge Park, and Stoney Point Park.

“It is unfortunate we need to take these additional measures. However, it is necessary in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Tom Bain. “We need to stay home and only go out if absolutely necessary. Let’s all do our part, and together we can get through this.”

In Kingsville, fencing is being placed around that town’s skate park, and playground swings are being taken out of service.

“This is directly in keeping with our overall challenge to protect our community by continuing to take measures that result in reduced exposure to this virus,” said Kingsville Mayor Nelson Santos. “We have the support of our public health unit in taking measures to strengthen the importance of social and physical distancing.”

Essex added its name to the list Thursday afternoon. All playgrounds are closed, but multi-use trails and passive parks are open, according to town spokesman Alex Denonville.

People are still welcome to use the parks for exercise and recreation, but should not gather in groups, picnic, or use the pavilions or playground equipment. Playing fields, basketball courts and tennis courts are also off-limits until further notice.

All facilities owned by each town are closed to the general public, with essential staff working only. Town business can still be conducted by dropbox, e-mail or phone.

Crews in the town of Tecumseh spent Tuesday taking swings out of service and putting caution tape around playground equipment to discourage people from using it until the threat of the virus has subsided.

While playground structures are closed physical activity outside in large, open spaces while practising physical distancing is still encouraged.

“For almost two weeks, my family and I have been in self-isolation after returning from overseas,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens “One of the first things we all plan to do when this period ends is to take a family hike through one of our neighbourhood trails. While we are asking parents to avoid the swings and playgrounds, I will always encourage residents to get fresh air and exercise and to enjoy one of the many open spaces maintained by the City of Windsor.”