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Will quarantine measures prompt new playground zones in Lethbridge?

Will quarantine measures prompt change in Lethbridge playground zones?
WATCH: While some people in Lethbridge have voiced safety concerns over children playing in green spaces during the COVID-19 outbreak, city officials say this isn’t the time to review playground zone bylaws. Emily Olsen reports.

While school is out, playgrounds are closed and people are practising physical distancing in Lethbridge, many are still venturing out to city green spaces to enjoy some fresh air during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is prompting the question of whether combining school and playground zones would be beneficial.

Ahmed Ali, a city transportation engineering manager, said with Lethbridge’s focus primarily on combating the spread of COVID-19, now is not the time.

“Right now, it’s not business as usual,” said Ali. 

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“We have other issues to address.”

He said the change would be an investment and require crews to change every sign across the city, but officials are still exploring their options in the long term.

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READ MORE: City of Lethbridge announces new measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission

“We don’t want to jump right away. As we get more results, and [if] we are fully convinced that combining these two zones will actually have a beneficial effect, then we will make a decision,” Ali said.

“What we are doing right now is looking at results from the City of Calgary, City of Medicine Hat and City of Edmonton, where they have combined school zones and playground zones, to see what results they get in before and after studies.”

Comments on Global News’ Facebook poll showed mixed opinions on the matter.

Many expressed concerns about safety while others were concerned about interruptions to daily commutes.

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Ali said the city is aware of safety concerns.

“We know that the city is not allowing kids to play in playgrounds, and they may go in the green space. I would definitely advise parents to be watchful of children,” he said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Lethbridge long-term care facilities restrict visitation

He said the reduced traffic due to quarantine measures should be beneficial for those playing outside.

“I’m not trying to discourage people from going outside but make sure your children are with you,” Ali said. 

“Don’t leave them alone, and make sure that we all follow the mantra of staying home, staying safe and staying healthy.”

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