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City of Stonnington urges Victorian Government to reopen playgrounds

City of Stonnington urges Victorian Government to reopen playgrounds
August 19, 2021

City of Stonnington has called on the Victorian Government to open its playgrounds and work with local Councils in metropolitan Melbourne to put all necessary COVIDSafe measures in place to ensure outdoor playgrounds reopen as soon as safely possible.

In a letter sent to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews today, City of Stonnington Mayor Kate Hely reinforced the importance of providing access to open spaces and playgrounds for children, as a mental health issue.

Mayor Hely notes "we understand the motivations of the state government in closing high risk settings at this crucial turning point of the COVID-19 pandemic, however Melbourne's toughened lockdown is overwhelming our already stressed families, children and community.

"Outdoor play for children is vitally important for their development, exercise needs and mental health.

"We are hearing reports every day that children are struggling with anxiety, depression and thoughts of harming themselves. In the City of Stonnington, play spaces have never been more important for our community, with 73.5% of our households medium or high density, compared to 33% in Greater Melbourne.

"Our families do not have spacious backyards, so they rely on Council open play spaces. Our playgrounds are an essential service that provides children with a safe and healthy environment for outdoor play and exercise.

"We are very concerned about the future impacts of these tightened restrictions on our next generation.

Mayor Hely said that Council believes it can safely manage its parks, open spaces and playgrounds to minimise the risk of infection, by for example, implementing QR codes, patrols, enhanced cleaning and signage.

"We have been doing it successfully for the past 18 months, so we can continue to manage these measures across our open spaces and playgrounds too.”

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