When playgrounds opened, Erica Urech cautiously brought her two kids equipped with face masks and hand sanitizer. It was relaxed at first, just a couple families around.
Then, she saw an overwhelming group of what she thinks was out-of-state tourists take over the slides. And no one was wearing masks.
“Excuse me, did you pack masks to wear?” she asked them. She just received a rude glare. So, she and the other couple of parents packed up and left with their kids.
Sunday, she felt irritated again as she saw parents without masks. But, she stayed at her picnic table and periodically spritzed her kids’ hands with sanitizer.
Kid’s World at Alameda Park was abuzz Sunday, though the other sections in the park were calm. Each picnic table was taken by a parent or two, and kids ran around — some with, some without masks.
Santa Barbara playgrounds opened Oct. 3, when the county moved into the red tier.
The city posted rules on its website. Everyone ages two and older must wear masks; maintain six-feet distance and prevent kids crowding together. Each playground has an occupancy limit, as well.
The city won’t disinfect the playgrounds, so it encourages families to be cautious.
Madeline Arriaza felt hesitant to let her five-year-old son play. She wondered if it was safe.
“He sees the playground, and it’s hard to say no after so long,” she said as she cautiously approached the gate.
She didn’t know the playground was open when they went to the park. She was just taking her son to ride around on his scooter.
But the giggles and cheers coming from the playground make it hard for a young boy to enjoy riding around alongside his parents.
He’s been home for the past few months. Luckily, he has a big yard in which to play. But now he started virtual kindergarten, and it’s hard to focus.
His mom doesn’t like seeing him struggle with distance learning, but she still says she feels better that he’s at home.
The Dumond Family felt similarly. The kids are in a charter school, but not one that meets in-person.
So, Laura Dumond took her four sons to the park to run around Sunday for the first time in months. They went once every other week prior to COVID-19, but they’ve just stayed home lately.
“It was hard because they didn’t have anywhere to get their energy out,” she said.
The boys wrestled and tried to make the best of the time at home, but they’d end up in fights after a while. They’re glad to see people other than their brothers.
“We get to see our friends at the park we usually don’t get to see,” Jaxson Dumond said.
They said they like to run and get their energy out, they said as they snacked on cupcakes in the shade.
When the cupcakes and interview questions were done, they quickly ran back to the slides to play again.