Akron To Open City Playgrounds For Summer, Pool Openings Still In The Works

A playground with a "Closed" sign.
Playgrounds have been closed due to the coronavirus pandemic since March. [Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau]
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Akron is reopening playgrounds to the public Wednesday, the decision coming as the summer season kicks into gear.

The city is asking visitors to continue taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but is not implementing any specialized sanitization practices. Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that playgrounds and similar facilities would be allowed to open starting June 10, along with movie theaters, museums, zoos and other entertainment venues.

Signage posted around Akron’s playgrounds will provide visitors with guidelines and best practices, said city spokesperson Ellen Lander-Nischt, but the city will not be disinfecting the areas regularly.

“We are not, nor have we ever regularly cleaned or disinfected the playground equipment, so we’re letting people know of that fact,” she said.

The city also won’t be monitoring attendance at the playgrounds, she said, but is recommending visitors maintain a six-foot distance from one another.

“At this point, we think that the best course of action is to leave it up to the family members,” Lander-Nischt said. “We heard from the community that this is a resource they would like to have available again. We understand that playgrounds are a very cherished part of our parks.”

Public pools were permitted to reopen last month, but several have opted to remain closed for the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Akron pools planning to open this season are expected to do so in July, Lander-Nischt said, but procedures are still in the works.

Akronites can expect to see limits on the number of people allowed in pool areas, she said, as well as hand sanitizer stations.

“We understand that recreational opportunities are really important to the community, especially in the summertime,” Lander-Nischt said. “We do want to make sure we have that as an option for our residents.”

Pool visitors will be expected to continue social distancing, Lander-Nischt said.

“There’s very little risk to people who are in the pool,” she said. “But we’re going to ask people to maintain that distancing when they’re outside around the pool.”

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