Let the children play!
Dr. Deena Hinshaw has given the green light for indoor playgrounds to reopen in Alberta, and some facilities have already issued their physical-distancing plans.
In a tweet, she noted that reopened play facilities in B.C., Ontario and Saskatchewan have had no issues with COVID-19.
"Play is important to the healthy development of a child, but as it gets colder, opportunities can be harder to come by. Effective today, indoor children's play areas can operate, provided they follow specific public health guidance, including enhanced cleaning & monitoring," the province's chief medical officer tweeted Wednesday.
Which means that after being closed for more than six months, dozens of play centres across Alberta are back in businesses.
Kara Walker, general manager of The Big Box, an indoor playground in northeast Calgary, says they are excited to welcome back families and that they've been preparing for their reopening for months.
"Since we've been closed, trying to update all our safety measures and our cleaning protocols so that we're ready," she told the Calgary Eyeopener.
This will include reduced capacity and entrances, prescreening guests, staff wearing masks, Plexiglass at reception and power stations, as well as decals on the floor to maintain physical distancing.
"So all of that's going to be new and different for the children, I'm sure," she said.
Walker says The Big Box, which is a 25,000-square-foot facility that features an inflatable area, bumper cars, arcade, playground, birthday spaces and aerial rope course, already has a large number of families excited to come by.
"We've received a lot of positive comments on our social media pages, so that is really great to hear," said Walker.
"We expect numbers to be lower in the beginning, but we're confident that people will see the measures that we're taking and start to venture out more."
In Claresholm, Taylor Bradley, owner-operator of Willow Creek Indoor Playground, says she purchased the facility during the pandemic but does not regret the buy.
"It's a new adventure and I'm super excited," said Bradley, who is currently the only employee at the centre.
The 900-sq.-ft. indoor playground usually fits 80 kids, but Bradley plans on having only 10 at a time and by appointment only.
As well, parents will have to supervise children, and any birthday parties booked will be for families only or their cohort.