Playing Out and Social Distancing (updated April 2021)

We’ve finally got the go-ahead from North Tyneside Council to restart playing out sessions across the borough.

Some of you have dates scheduled and can now start to use them again, some of you are waiting to hear back on renewal applications, and some of you have submitted applications for your first session.

All of you will probably be thinking about how to make sure you, your neighbours and your children manage to play out and hang out safely while social distancing.

Much of the evidence seems to suggest that being outdoors with others is much less risky than being indoors – playgrounds are now open, outdoor team sports have restarted, and outdoor events are starting to happen again. In this context, we think playing out can be managed safely, and that the benefits for children playing and neighbours meeting are significant, for our physical and mental health. London Play make a strong risk-benefit case for play streets here.

Nevertheless, we do still need to think about social distancing and being as safe as we can.

Our friends at Playing Out have drawn up this guidance, which looks at consultation, stewarding, hygiene, food and drink, collective responsibility, and play.

Key things to think about are whether or not your neighbours are OK with your plans and how you might be able to include all those who been involved in the #clapforNHS and other street activities during the lockdown; ensuring that handwashing and hand sanitisers are regular parts of the session, for children and adults; suggesting that households have their own drinks and snacks, rather than a table of food and drink to share; and thinking about the sorts of fun you can have without touching and without handling shared play equipment.

Much of this is echoed by London Play who organise hundreds of play streets across the capital and who have developed extensive guidance on why and how we should be organising playing out in the context of social distancing.

If you’re just starting and in the process of consulting, London Play makes these suggestions:

Flyers: When delivering flyers or consultation letters, ensure regular hand washing and hygiene by those handling and posting them, or wear gloves to completely avoid contact with letterboxes, gates etc.
Door knocking: If you need to speak to your neighbours on their doorstep, knock and then stand back ‘1m plus’ to chat at a distance. Consider wearing a mask.

All this guidance is worth reviewing with your neighbours and your identified stewards to ensure that you’re all confident about running a safe session.

If you have any questions, let us know – we’ll do everything we can to support you playing out.

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