eThekwini Municipality opens parks, public spaces for exercise from next week

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published Jul 23, 2020

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Durban - From next week, you will be able to walk or run at a number of public spaces in and around the city.

On Thursday, eThekwini Municipality's Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit announced that the public will be allowed to use public spaces from Monday, July 27. However, according to the unit's Deputy Head, Sibusiso Mkhwanazi this is only for healthy lifestyle exercises, including walking, running, cycling, yoga, etc. which are permitted under the lockdown regulations.

"Any other form of social gathering remains strictly prohibited. The open spaces that will open are parks, Botanical Gardens, nature reserves and sports grounds," he said.

Mkhwanazi added that the municipality is mindful of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections, thus will ensure that strict precautions are implemented as people use the facilities.

“The lives of our residents are a priority to us, therefore access to these places will be limited to avoid overcrowding and the maximum number of people in a group allowed is 10. This is to ensure that whilst residents are enjoying themselves, they are also vigilant at the same time,” said Mkhwanazi.

As the world deals with the effect Covid-19 pandemic, the municipality’s open spaces have been affected with some parks not being maintained as usual because the department is operating with limited staff members.

Mkhwanazi said a single entrance will be used to enter nature reserves and botanical gardens.

Screening procedure for Covid-19 and temperature checks will be mandatory for all residents wishing to enter the facilities.

Park users are urged to be cautious and vigilant at all times by adhering to the following 10 mandatory requirements:

•Wear a mask in public spaces at all times,

•Practice social distancing of a minimum of three meters apart,

•Events or gatherings are prohibited,

•Ensure that hands are washed and sanitised prior to entering a parks facility,

•Exercise only with persons within your household which is limited to a maximum of FIVE people in a group,

•Refrain from using the ablution facilities,

•Remind children that the use of the gym and play-equipment is restricted,

•Take all disposables home, including empty bottles and paper cups,

•Leave all valuables at home to avoid opportunistic crime,

•Abide by the public open spaces By-laws in place.

The municipality is urging the public to be very cautious as they will be using these public spaces and that the onus to prevent the spreads of the virus is in the hands of the residents and everyone using these facilities.

Residents are urged to avoid going to these facilities if they feel unwell or have flu like symptoms and avoid parks that have a lot of people by staying at home.

Park-users are urged to carry their personal sanitisers and to refrain from sitting on the benches, utilising the gym-equipment and ablution facilities.

"We strongly encourage the public to make use of the refuse bins provided in these facilities. The parks are only open during the regulated hours and it should be noted that there will be no public ablutions available at this stage," he said.

The Mercury

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