Summer after all: Oakland County rescinds pool, playground closures

As Governor Gretchen Whitmer rolls back COVID-19 restrictions, Oakland County has followed suit, rescinding Public Health Orders this week that closed outdoor pools and playgrounds.

Citing public health data that shows a decline in confirmed cases of the disease, Whitmer on Monday loosened restrictions on restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses, and allowed gatherings of 100 or fewer people in public places.

Jon Aldred for Farmington Hills City Council

Late last month, the county issued an order closing pools until the Public Health Officer had determined “that the threat to the public’s health and lives presented by COVID-19 is no longer present.” Under Whitmer’s new Executive Order, pools may open on June 8 at 50 percent capacity, with a required six feet of social distancing.

Playgrounds closed since March 21 were also covered in Whitmer’s recent order. They may open on June 5, with modifications to ensure social distancing. Areas that cannot accommodate social distancing must remain closed.

The City of Farmington Hills confirmed all playgrounds will be open on June 5, along with Riley Skate Park and Founder’s Sports Park. Director of Special Services Ellen Schnackel said the Splash Pad at Heritage Park will remain closed for resurfacing. The city has targeted June 12 as an opening date.

Heritage Park Splash Pad
The Heritage Park Splash Pad is expected to re-open on June 12, after resurfacing. 

“We’ve been following CDC Guidelines as well as State and County directives throughout this COVID-19 situation and have kept our parks and trails open for use while encouraging social distancing,” Schnackel said.

That will continue as playgrounds open. In a Wednesday press release, the County Health Division noted that outdoor areas generally do not require disinfection: 

“Spraying disinfectant on outdoor playgrounds is not an efficient use of disinfectant supplies and has not been proven to reduce the risk of COVID-19 to the public. You should maintain existing cleaning and hygiene practices for outdoor areas. If practical, high touch surfaces made of plastic or metal, such as grab bars and railings, should be cleaned routinely. Cleaning and disinfection of wooden surfaces (e.g., play structures, benches, tables) or groundcovers (e.g., mulch, sand) is not recommended.”

If you visit a playground, beach, or recreation facility, Oakland County Health Division recommends the following:

  • Stay at least six feet from others at all times. This can make some open areas, trails, and paths safer to use. Do not enter a crowded area.
  • Minimize gathering with others outside of your household.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you (at least 60 percent alcohol) for times when soap and water are not available.


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