Niagara County Set to Open Playgrounds and Splash Pads at County Parks

County Health Department Offers Guidance for All Municipal Pools

Niagara County will open one playground area in each of Krull, Oppenheim and West Canal parks tomorrow and will open the rest of the playground areas next Friday according to Niagara County Legislature Chairman Becky Wydysh.  Splash pads at Krull and Oppenheim are set to open by the end of June.   

“We know many parents are anxious to see the amenities in county parks open for their children,” said Wydysh.  “With the assistance of our Department of Public Health and the efforts of our Public Works Department, we have been working as fast as possible to have everything in place to meet state COVID-19 guidelines.  Today, we can announce our reopening plan, which begins tomorrow with one playground area in Krull, Oppenheim and West Canal parks.”

Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said his department has been offering guidance to the county and local governments, as his department must issue permits for public aquatic venues.  “We want to encourage parents and their children to be active and get outside, but the fact is use of playgrounds, splash pads and pools can increase the risk of contracting COVID-19,” said Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton, who noted pool and playground openings will be decided by each locality.  “That doesn’t mean you need to stay home, but rather be smart and take the necessary preventive measures if you do go to these places.”

Stapleton said it is important that municipalities clearly post guidelines and do their best to enforce them.  His office said the usual COVID-19 tips are still the best ways to protect your family and reduce risk: 

  • Stay 6 feet away from people who don’t live with you, both in and out of the water. 
  • If you cannot stay six feet from individuals outside of your household of family unit and not in the water, wear a face covering. 
  • For health and safety concerns, face coverings should not be worn by children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone in the water. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid sharing items with other people (for example goggles, toys, towels, drinks, etc.)
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your elbow, throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands. 
  • Stay home if you do not feel well, tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days. 

Niagara County Public Works Commissioner Garret Meal said his department needed time to acquire the necessary disinfection and cleaning equipment as well as signage.

“Our team has been preparing the playgrounds and splash pads for opening.  We are posting signs with the state guidelines, have a cleaning plan in place and will have staff circulating through the parks to ensure compliance.  But the bottom line is we are counting on the public to do the right thing.  Nobody wants these amenities closed back down by the state because a few people put others at risk by not following the rules.”

(Editor’s note: Niagara County operates 5 parks total.  Burmaster Park and Royalton Park do not have any playground equipment or splash pads.)