Sustaining Health & Safety Practices In Parks & Recreation

Sustaining Health & Safety Practices In Parks & Recreation

While the COVID-19 virus emerged late last year, we are now six months removed from its worldwide spread which spurred shutdowns all over the globe. For months, businesses, organizations and departments shut down their public-facing services to protect others from the risk of infection. As we moved from each phase of reopening, the importance of practicing health and safety measures remained strong with many of us. But how long can this energy be sustained?

When it comes to an invisible—or microscopic—threat such as a viral pandemic, the fear can fade away when life feels like normal. As we phased out of different stages of the pandemic, and reopened familiar businesses or organizations, many have taken this as a cue that it is safe to return to life as we know it. But that couldn't be further from the truth.


If you operate a parks department and want to keep morale high about washing hands adequately, and practicing frequent sanitization without it feeling redundant or repetitive for staff, we have you covered. Here are some tips to help you and your team stay positive about cleaning protocols during COVID-19.

Encourage Regular Hand Washing

We all know we should be washing our hands with warm, soapy water for a minimum of 20 seconds, but it's not hard to imagine that this habit has fizzled out for many people. It is worth reminding people how often they touch their face during the day, and how the virus could easily be transmitted from surface, to hands, to mouth if they are not careful.

Ideas To Promote Hand Washing:

  1. Put up guides for ideal hand washing, including where and how long to wash the hands
  2. Install automatic faucets and soap dispensers
  3. Paste reminders at high-visibility points around each recreation center


Make Hand Sanitizing More Accessible—And Enjoyable

While hand sanitizer is more readily available, compared to the shortages that the world saw this spring, there are several reasons people may opt to not use it. Some find that the alcohol in hand sanitizer dries their skin out, while some find the grain alcohol sanitizing blends don't have the most amazing scents. But there are ways to promote more sanitization for your visitors.

Ideas To Promote Hand Sanitizing:

  1. Invest in pleasant smelling hand sanitizer
  2. Install automatic hand sanitizing units at all entrances/exits
  3. Offer lotion for people with concerns about drying out their skin, or invest into sanitizers with moisturizing properties

Promote Equipment Rentals

If your recreation departmen already provides equipment rentals, you're on the right track! In the time of COVID-19, why not expand those services and offer rentals for all equipment that can be moved out of the facility? Equipment rentals are a great way to allow people to play sports and stay fit in an open space, or in the comfort of their own home.

Ideas To Promote Equipment Rentals:

  1. Extend time slots for short-term rentals
  2. Reduce charges for longer term rentals
  3. Be transparent with your equipment cleaning schedule—which should be before and after the equipment is rented


Close Down Waiting Spaces

While installing plastic partitions are a great start to preventing infection of staff members, what about residents who are waiting? It is recommended to ensure chairs in waiting areas are at least 2 metres apart, but it is worth considering closing them down altogether to keep risk of infection low. However, if this is not a realistic option—perhaps due to unfavorable weather—requiring masks in waiting areas is a good protocol.

Ideas For Alternatives To Waiting Spaces:

  1. Ask visitors to wait outside or in their cars
  2. Add a QR code to an outside window so visitors can check in online when they arrive
  3. If waiting areas are necessary, ask that visitors wear masks

Move Services To Open Outdoor Spaces

Finally, as long as we have favorable sunny weather, take advantage of it! If you have fields or space that isn't routinely used for rentals, see if you can open it up to residents to use for recreation. You may be surprised how much viable space there is in your parks network to use!

Ideas For Alternatives To Waiting Spaces:

  1. If weather-permitting, allow staff to help out residents outside in the open air
  2. Add a QR code to an outside window so visitors can check in online when they arrive
  3. Instal awnings or umbrellas to keep visitors warm and dry in rainy or snowy weather

Sustaining Health & Safety Practices In Parks & Recreation


See what Xplor Recreation can do for you