City of Erie Updated Parks & Playgrounds Guidance

ERIE, PA (June 27, 2020) City of Erie announces further guidance from the Erie County Department of Health (ECDH) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) regarding parks, playgrounds, and restrooms.

“We have received additional guidance from the Erie County Department of Health regarding playgrounds. ECDH recommends that if playgrounds cannot be cleaned routinely, then the playgrounds should not be open,” said Dave Mulvihill, Public Works Director.

It is up to each municipality to determine if they can safely reopen their playgrounds. The City of Erie has 54 parks and 23 playgrounds. 

The City of Erie is experiencing ongoing community spread of COVID-19.  The CDC explains that in communities where there is ongoing spread of COVID-19, playgrounds can be hard to keep safe because:

• They are often crowded and could make social distancing difficult.

• It can be difficult to keep surfaces clean and disinfected.

• SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread when young children touch contaminated objects, and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

• Outdoor areas require normal routine cleaning.  In order to be done effectively, efficiently, and safely, disinfectants would need to be used throughout the day on outdoor hard surfaces and objects frequently touched by multiple people (e.g., handrails, benches, playground equipment).  Staff would need to remain on site to perform this disinfection and to ensure that disinfectant has thoroughly dried before allowing children to play.

Mulvihill continues, “We do not have the staff to safely clean all of the equipment.  For these reasons, the playgrounds will not be reopening at this time.”

According to the Erie County Department of Health (ECDH), restrooms should be provided if a park is open for public visitation.  The City has placed some port-a-potties in parks that have organized, permitted activities, mostly at softball fields.  However, these facilities will only be cleaned and sanitized once a week.  

Due to COVID-19 safety and health concerns, we encourage residents to please use proper precautions. Since hand-washing stations are not available, the City is alerting all park visitors to bring their own disinfecting wipes hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use before and after using these facilities.

ECDH informs us that as long as good hand hygiene is practiced after bathroom use, the chance of any COVID-19 transmission is significantly reduced. Anyone feeling sick should not be at the parks.

As a reminder:

▪ The McClelland Park Dog Park is open.

▪ The City’s Youth Summer Recreation Program located in eight City parks and administered by the YMCA is operational, including the opening of Rodger Young Pool on Wednesday, June 24th.  The YMCA submitted a reopening plan to ECDH and was approved. These parks have port-a-potties for the express use of the children in the Kids’ Camp program.  

▪ Youth tennis at Frontier and Burton Parks started Monday, June 22, 2020.

▪ All other organized sports (Softball, Little League, etc.) are required to submit a Health and Safety Plan to the Erie County Department of Health prior to receiving a permit.

▪ The Glenwood Park Picnic area and restrooms will remain closed.

▪ Event permits will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  Residents should call (814) 870-1253 for information.

The City is following the guidance of the CDC and the PA and Erie County Departments of Health. As changes are made, we are responding and opening venues as quickly as we are able. For more updates and information, please visit

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