Date issued: 14 January 2021
Colchester Borough Council has taken the decision to close the playground in Upper Castle Park to keep residents safe as the coronavirus infection rate in Colchester continues to rise.
The closure will come into effect from Friday 15 January 2021, but the rest of Castle Park will remain open for local people to take their daily exercise.
The current national lockdown rules mean that the Government has said that playgrounds can remain open, but the council has been clear that it would act and close facilities where concerns are ongoing.
The council’s Covid Marshals, Wardens, Park Rangers and Essex Police are patrolling the area daily, monitoring numbers, issuing guidance, hand sanitiser and talking to families to educate them around the need to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, but at its peak, it has been recorded that there were 110 people using the play equipment at one time.
Cllr Martin Goss, Colchester Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Waste, Environment and Transportation, said: “With the nation being asked to stay at home and the rate of the virus continuing to increase in Colchester, we have made the difficult but right decision to close the play area in Upper Castle Park.
“While many residents are following the Government’s advice, sadly there are a few who are putting lives at risk and not adhering to social distancing and gathering rules, despite the educational steps taken by Essex Police and council officers.
“The council wants to keep our playgrounds open, to give people space to walk, exercise and to help their mental wellbeing, and we really recognise the value of these spaces. However, we will not hesitate to close facilities where needed.
“We must take care to be considerate to others and all do our bit to combat the spread of the virus. Stay at home as much as possible, and when out for your daily exercise, stay at least two metres apart and continue to wash your hands frequently.”
The council’s Neighbourhood team and Covid Marshals are continuing to work with Essex Police to patrol areas which are of high concern.
Anyone going out to enjoy one of Colchester playgrounds should following the guidance on signs at the site and:
- If you or any of your family are showing symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) DO NOT enter the play area. Return home and seek medical assistance.
- Wipe down touch points before and after you use the equipment (e.g. handles).
- Regularly hand sanitise before, during and after using the play area.
- Adhere to national social distancing guidelines and keep your distance from others.
- Do not consume food or drink on site.
- Do not use equipment marked ‘out of use’.
- Do not put your mouth on the equipment or your hands near your face.
- Take your rubbish home.
- Think about how long you spend in the play area - allow others to use the play area too. If the play area is busy, go back later.
See the full guidance for playgrounds and outdoor gyms at: www.colchester.gov.uk/coronavirus/residents/playgrounds-outdoor-gyms-coronavirus/
Colchester’s outdoor gyms, skateparks and sports courts are all closed, in line with national Government lockdown guidelines.
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