Playgrounds reopen in new deconfinement phase

Outdoor playgrounds, like this one in Cents, have been allowed to reopen with immediate effect. (Photo : Mike Zenari / archives)

Outdoor playgrounds, like this one in Cents, have been allowed to reopen with immediate effect. (Photo : Mike Zenari / archives)

The Luxembourg government has announced a series of measures that further ease lockdown restrictions for children and the Horesca sector

Prime minister Xavier Bettel had some good news for children and parents on Wednesday evening. Speaking at a press conference after a cabinet meeting, Bettel said the government had decided that outdoor playgrounds and indoor play areas will reopen with immediate effect. Furthermore, and children under 13 no longer have to wear masks in public--though they will still be required at school.

A further announcement that will be welcomed by the Horesca sector allows groups of up to 10 people to now sit at the same table in restaurants and cafés, rather than the restriction of four that had been in place since the sector reopened to welcome guests on 27 May.

Bettel said that the decision to lift further restrictions and “give more freedoms to individuals” had been made because “the majority of us have followed the rules”.

Children will not be required to wear protective gear or even maintain social distancing in public outdoor playgrounds. However, in indoor play areas children aged over 6 will have to wear a mask or the “buff” scarf that was provided to primary school children.

Return to normality

With fewer than three new cases detected out of 1,000 tests carried out each day, the time was ripe to open up social contact, said education minister Claude Meisch (DP). He cited new scientific data that indicated the risk of contracting the virus outdoors was almost 19 times lower than indoors. “We also know that covid-19 is not really dangerous for children, which is proven by figures in Luxembourg.” Children, who have given up so much during lockdown, have also been slower to contaminate and at a much lower frequency than we thought at first, Meisch said.

To this end, children in schools will also be allowed to go into the playground as long as they are wearing face coverings and do not mix with other classes. “This is a step towards the return of normality in schools,” Meisch said. Summer activities such as sports and language camps will also be permitted, under social distancing conditions and limited to 50 children supervised by 10 supervisors.

Other measures include a lifting of the restriction limiting outdoor gatherings to 20 people, though social distancing of 2 metres remains in place--people will have to wear masks where this is not possible. And non-contact sports will also be able to resume competitive matches.

This article was adapted from a report in French on Paperjam.