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Parents across Britain may rightly be celebrating outside this Saturday, given news that as well as pubs, bars and restaurants reopening, so too are children’s playgrounds.
The government revealed plans to substantially relax lockdown measures in England as of July 4. And while swimming pools, beauty salons and nightclubs remain shut, outdoor play areas will be open for families who have been forced to steer clear since March 23.
It’s worth checking in your local park, though, as some councils are keeping them closed a while longer. But, if yours is open, it might look a little different.
The government has issued guidance for those managing playgrounds, which states a range of suggested measures, including: signs should be put up to remind people of social distancing, no food or drink should be consumed in the area, there should be limits on the maximum number of people on the playground, and they should use adjacent space for queues or waiting areas.
But just because we can now let our kids play on public swings and slides – does it mean we should?
Firstly, what are the risks to children of Covid-19?
Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine and expert in infectious diseases based at the University of East Anglia, tells HuffPost UK it’s important to remember the risk of children contracting the virus is minimal – particularly outdoors where there’s better ventilation, and the virus can be killed by UV light.
“In terms of risk to the children themselves, that’s probably quite low,” he says. “So far, there have been just three deaths in children under 10 years old in England and Wales. That’s three too many, of course, but, given the vast...