PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — With schools across Oregon and Washington closed amid the coronavirus outbreak, there are few places for kids to go and confusion over which places are safe to take them.
Public parks are, under normal circumstances, great places for children to burn off energy and enjoy the outdoors. But with state and health officials encouraging social distancing and avoiding gatherings of 10 people or more, KOIN 6 wanted to know if it’s still safe to take kids to parks.
Many parents and grandparents said they were taking kids to tracks and open fields and avoiding traditional parks and high-touch areas.
“Even though we love playgrounds, we are avoiding those because we don’t want our kids climbing on things and spreading germs,” said parent Allison Wells.
Oregon Health Authority Medical Director for Communicable Disease Dr. Paul Sieslak said it’s okay to let kids play together at a distance.
“If they are going to the park and running around the park or playing baseball, something like that — that is a great thing to do,” he said. “But playing at very close quarters, face-to-face contact — that’s the kind of thing where diseases get spread.”
Sieslak strongly advised against having large, face-to-face play dates for now.
“The most dangerous thing to do would be to have 10 or 12 kids over to your house where lots of kids are interacting face-to-face in close distance with other kids,” he said.