Windsor is immediately closing playgrounds amid the COVID-19 pandemic

The City of Windsor is immediately closing play structures, including swings and children's activity sets within parks in an effort to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, according to a Thursday media release.

Parks, trails and open spaces will remain open, as they still allow people to practice social distancing.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens continued to urge residents to practice social distancing.

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Ontario Provincial Police announced last Friday that officers will fine individuals or businesses that break physical distancing rules.

Public gatherings with more than 50 people are prohibited and individuals can be fined up to $1,000.

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"What people need to understand is that this is really a serious situation and if police have to go out there, they are empowered," Dilkens said.

Other towns and cities in Ontario — including Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Lakeshore and the Town of Essex — have already closed their own parks and playgrounds.

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'Not acceptable'

Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of Toronto, said playgrounds are "not acceptable" during this time.

"A playground has surfaces and you've got different kids who could be climbing over all those different surfaces," he said.

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"When you look at the number of kids over the course of the last few days, there might be, you know, 20, 50 or 100, who knows?"

A recent study by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases found that coronavirus could be detected on plastic or stainless steel for up to three days, cardboard for 24 hours and copper for four hours.

People should avoid touching surfaces in public places. If they have to, Ottawa epidemiologist Dr. Rama Nair recommends using disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces that are touched frequently.

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