Area Playgrounds closing during Pandemic

By Sue Gruman Kraft

Due to the risks of the coronavirus and COVID-19, playgrounds are being closed down in our area.
The risk exists that children who are playing in the playground or the accompanying adults could leave the virus on playground equipment. They may do so unknowingly because individuals not showing symptoms can still spread the virus. Then unsuspecting families could follow behind them, and come into contact with the virus on the playground equipment.
As a result, the City of Mahnomen has closed its playground at the mini-park in Mahnomen.
Also, the Mahnomen School District has closed its playground. St. Michael’s School has also closed its playground to the public.
Also, the Waubun-Ogema-White Earth School District has closed its playground to the public, and it will only be used by the students who are in their childcare program for essential workers.
Circle of Life Academy has also closed its school playground to the public.
On Monday, April 6, after wishing him a happy birthday, this reporter had the honor of asking Governor Tim Walz a question during the press conference. I mentioned that I was doing this story, and was getting a mixed message from some entities regarding this matter. I also noted that I had learned there was evidence of teenagers gathering at a gazebo and a shelter in the area. I asked the governor for clarification regarding the matter. What should be done as the weather gets nicer?
“There has to be a buy in from the public, to understand they are saving lives, they are making a difference,” Walz stated. The choices made make a difference, he said.
And regarding getting outside more, “At any other given time, that is a super good public health and mental health measure. Right now, it poses some problems,” Walz stated.
“People congregating too closely in outdoor activities,” is one of the big health concerns that Minnesotans could face this summer, he suggested.
Governor Walz stated that he would be addressing this and other matters in his “next Stay at Home order or next mitigation order.” This new order is expected to be issued this week, prior to the end of the first Stay at Home Order, on April 10.

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