Last month the Scottish government decided to allow certain leisure businesses to reopen after temporary closures caused to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Nicola Sturgeon’s most recent update has pushed back the reopening dates for several industries by at least three more weeks.
So to clarify the situation, here are the current rules around how and when playgrounds are set to reopen.
When did play areas close?
In Scotland, indoor soft play businesses closed on 23 March when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told business owners, “If you are not providing essential items like food and medicines, then please also close now”.
When will soft play areas reopen in Scotland?
In Scotland, following First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s speech in parliament which detailed the upcoming easing of restrictions in phase 2 and 3, outdoor playgrounds reopened from Monday 29 June.
The government advice for outdoor play parks is as follows:
"Different groups of children may use a play park at the same time as each other. However, children should not use a play park if it is crowded. Please encourage children to be considerate of others when making use of facilities.”
“If children use a play park they should be extra careful about hand hygiene and everyone should use an alcohol based hand rub (hand sanitiser) immediately before and after using the play equipment.”
Meanwhile on 15 July, indoor recreational businesses, such as museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries reopened with physical distancing measures in place.
Childcare businesses also reopened on this date subject to “individual provider arrangements”.
Indoor playgrounds were planned to remain closed until Monday 14 September so long as such soft play areas adhere to enhanced hygiene measures, after the Scottish Government’s announcement on the phased approach out of lockdown on 29 July.
However Nicola Sturgeons most recent announcement, revealed that all reopenings due to take place on September 14 will now be reviewed on October 1 with the hope of setting the reopening date as October 5.
What hygiene measures will be introduced to keep kids safe?
Soft play areas could implement measures such as hand sanitiser stations, a one-way system around the soft play area, along with protective screens at reception.
The areas could also be deep cleaned with the use of electrostatic spray systems to prevent the virus lingering on surfaces.
Meanwhile, visitor numbers may be limited to allow people to remain at a one-metre distance from each other.
However, there have been concerns over whether such measures will be possible to enforce in such an environment.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Kelly Edwards, owner of Adventure Forest Play Centre in Trafford, said "Obviously the difficulty is implementing social distancing on the play frame, especially for children."
Additionally, planning for reopening proves difficult for soft play owners due to the lack of communication from the government, leaving them only to speculate what could be possible in future.
Edwards added "It has been proposed that schools might have bubbles of children meaning children stay in smaller groups with the same children. We could offer something that ties in with this, so that those children can play at Adventure Forest together as they are already together at school”
“But obviously at the moment we are waiting on government guidance to be able to put in place definite plans."