Coronavirus crisis: Perth playgrounds and outdoor gyms banned, resemble crime scenes under new lockdown rules

Headshot of Caitlyn Rintoul
Caitlyn RintoulThe West Australian
Email Caitlyn Rintoul
VideoGatherings have been restricted to two people outside while parks and playgrounds have been closed under new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19

They were built for toddlers and teens to release their endless energy — but they now look like crime scenes, cordoned off so those same children will stay away.

The once-bustling community spaces — Perth playgrounds, gym equipment and skate parks — will be deserted from Tuesday, with the Federal Government’s new bans now in place.

From fencing around climbing frames in Scarborough to an electronic sign at a skate park in Belmont, local governments have been scrambling to close the facilities.

Playgrounds taped off in City of Wanneroo
Camera IconPlaygrounds taped off in City of Wanneroo Credit: Daniel Newell

A slide at Harold Boas Gardens in West Perth was wrapped with red and white “danger” tape as if a crime had just been committed.

Announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison at a press conference on Sunday, the new precautionary measures came into affect at midnight last night.

Usually frequented by families to catch up and enjoy the outdoors, the recreational areas are now a no-go zone.

Father James Buchanan with sons Jodie, nine, and Arlo, one and a half, at the Belmont Skate Park.
Camera IconFather James Buchanan with sons Jodie, nine, and Arlo, one and a half, at the Belmont Skate Park. Credit: Caitlyn Rintoul/The West Australian

After hearing about the measures Perth father James Buchanan said he and his sons Jodie, 9, and Arlo, 1, planned to go to the Belmont Skate Park.

“I’ve come here today because I bought myself a new board and I heard tomorrow we’re going to be banned so I thought ‘today is my last day if I want to try out my new board’,” he said.

The young father said he tried to bring his boys to the park at least once a week and thought it was “over the top” to close down skate parks.

Belmont Skate Park is now closed.
Camera IconBelmont Skate Park is now closed. Credit: Caitlyn Rintoul/The West Australian, Caitlyn Rintoul

“I think it is absolutely over the top, I think it’s ridiculous. I think all of the measures are over the top. I don’t think that banning us from our own public places is really very fair,” he said.

On Monday, City of Belmont workers were at the popular Tomato Lake installing signage near play equipment about 4pm, well ahead of the ban enforcement deadline.

“This playground is closed. On-the-spot fines for individuals are in place for those found to be using this playground or disobeying social gathering rules. Report breaches to the police on 131 444,” the sign read.

Under the new measures, Australians will be able to spend time outdoors in parks and reserves, however, they must only be with their direct household or one other person.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails