SKIPTON'S playgrounds and play areas have been closed temporarily to try and stop the spread of coronavirus.

Skipton Town Council took the decision today (Monday) following a weekend where large numbers of people ignored government advice to practice ‘social distancing’.

The larger recreation grounds, including their integral ‘dog runs’ will remain open – but play areas will be closed off and all play equipment taken out of use.

The town council's chief officer Dave Parker, said: “We are really sorry that we’ve had to take this decision but, in the current circumstances, we are simply not able to ensure that play equipment can be sanitized often enough to make it safe to use.

"Also, many of our play areas across the town are quite small and do not lend themselves to helping with the social distancing advice being given by the government.”

He added: “All play equipment will be cordoned off by the end of today (Monday) and signage is being put up warning people to stay away from the equipment. We will only be undertaking urgent safety inspections during this period of closure so we must ask that everyone stays away from the equipment completely.”

The Council’s recreation grounds will remain open, but new measures and advice have been put in place there to help people to enjoy the open air safely.

Mr Parker said: “We know it is important that people can get fresh air and exercise – and that they can take their dogs out for a walk. But we need people to use our open spaces sensibly, so we are asking residents to use the common sense, but essential, advice we’ve added onto the noticeboards at the entrances to each area. Things like maintaining a minimum of two metres between yourself and anyone else using the facility, and avoiding congregating in groups.”

The play area closures will be monitored closely, but will remain in place until government advice states that they can safely be reopened.

Many other local authorities across the country have taken similar action today.

Skipton Town Council controls the vast majority of play areas and recreation grounds within the parish of Skipton – with the exception of Aireville Park which comes under the jurisdiction of Craven District Council.