Amid the crisis, the city of Toronto had decided to close all The public parks and playgrounds to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic following the footstep of many cities and countries around the world.
A registered nurse and the director of the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing at Ryerson University, Nancy Walton has told the Global News that public parks are the hotspot for Coronavirus spreading as it is a gathering place for both kids and their parents. She explained, “Parks are inherently social spaces for us, places where we like to gather, places where we relax and seek solace… and that feeling of cabin fever that you get after the winter is even more exacerbated by having to stay home.”
As the virus can live much longer on surfaces of the parks, the high risk of surface touch can only be avoidable by closing them for the time being.
Walton said that it is impossible to prevent the kids on the playground from touching the equipment frequently one after another. So the monkey bars, the chains of a swing, the ladder of a slide are all high-touch areas.
A member of the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, Dionne Aleman warned the people saying that that the virus can survive on inanimate surfaces for up to three days making the public gathering places the most vulnerable for infection.
Aleman clarified, “It’s not just you go to the park and you get there at 6 o’clock in the morning and no one’s been there all day so it’s fine. It’s not fine because somebody who’s infected might have been there yesterday, the day before, and the day before that. And their virus, germs could still be on that equipment.” So it is very important to close public parks including picnic sites, playgrounds, and dog parks.
Aleman explained that though children are less likely to be affected by the novel Coronavirus as they don’t react very strongly to COVID-19, it can get easily transmitted to you, especially elderly people, who are the most vulnerable to the disease, via them making you severely ill.
Some other parks that have closed public access are soccer fields, baseball diamonds, and basketball courts. Even though the players use gloves and masks during the game it can still be dangerous as they can contaminate themselves after they touch their eyes, mouth or nose while adjusting their masks and helmets with their gloved hands that had been touching all sorts of surfaces all day. And some sports like soccer or basketball cannot be played without close contact it is necessary to put a hold on these for the time being.
Health professionals are thus requesting people to stay away from public parks and practice social distancing and clean their hands with soap frequently.
Walton said that social distancing is the only answer to this pandemic as any virus needs physical contact among humans to stay alive and active.
The Mayor of the city of Toronto had announced on 30th March that people will be fined $5,000 for gathering up in public parks and for using park facilities.
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