A Henderson mom is urging Gov. Steve Sisolak to give local governments the authority to re-open city playgrounds.
Janie Sandberg, 33, a mother of three, has started a petition that has over 200 signatures and counting. She wants the governor to trust parents with their children’s health and safety while at playgrounds.
In March, Sisolak ordered playgrounds closed as part of a statewide shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Parks’ open spaces remained available during the shutdown, and outdoor activities were allowed as long as families complied with social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
In Nevada’s phase 2 of reopening, park amenities like splash pads, skate parks, recreation centers and sports fields resumed operations, but playgrounds are still wrapped in caution tape.
“It’s something that parents should be able to make the choice about,” Sandberg said. “For example, if I had high-risk people in my household or people who were immunocompromised, I might make the decision not to let my kids play on the playground.”
Sandberg said she and her children, ages 10, 7 and 4, recently went to Siena Heights Trailhead in Henderson and since they were the only family at the park, she allowed her children to play on the playground. It was then that a City of Henderson park employee approached her and told her the playground was still closed until the governor gives new directives.
Sisolak’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the status of playgrounds.
Kathy Bahan, spokeswoman for Henderson’s Public Affairs office, said the city is waiting for the governor’s directive to reopen the playgrounds. For the time being, park employees will regularly check and maintain the yellow tape on the playgrounds to keep children off.
“We’re complying with the guidelines. We’re trying to keep our residents safe,” Bahan said. “And we will get them back open as soon as we can, because we want residents to enjoy it.”
The Southern Nevada Health District referred questions about the safety of playgrounds to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends parents carefully consider the risks of letting their kids use playgrounds.
Playgrounds are often crowded and could make social distancing difficult, the CDC says on its website. Surfaces are not disinfected and the virus that causes COVID-19 can spread when young children touch their eyes, nose or mouth, it says.
Across the country, where playgrounds are open, the CDC encourages parents and children to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others, to wash hands with soap and water after play or to use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.
“If my child was sick, I would not take them to the playground,” Sandberg said. “After we played on the playground, we would wash our hands. I feel like there’s things that people can do to mitigate the risk.”
Contact Jannelle Calderon at email@example.com. Follow @NewsyJan on Twitter.