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Playgrounds reopen amid pandemic, but most aren't being cleaned

The City of West Des Moines says they don't have the resources to keep up with cleaning playgrounds. Other cities, like Urbandale, are warning parents of the risk.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Parks and playgrounds are reopening and drawing large crowds across Iowa.

Local 5 dug into different parks and rec departments around the metro and found that most do not clean playground equipment.

This is a big concern for parents due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I didn't know they weren't cleaning it," said concerned parent Mike Luken. "So, it's a little bit disturbing that they're not with all of this going on."

The City of West Des Moines' director of parks and recreation Sally Ortgies said they just don't have the resources to clean all the parks.

The City of Urbandale also said they do not clean the playgrounds. Instead, you'll see a flyer on the equipment telling you to "play at your own risk" and reminding you to wash your hands.

Credit: City of Urbandale

According the the World Health Organization, COVID-19 can live on stainless steel for 48 hours, plastic for five days, and on copper up to four hours. Many of these materials makeup playground equipment and benches.

"I advise parents to bring hand sanitizer with you. Utilize those open restroom facilities that we're offering," explains Ortgies. "Take your children there right after they're done on the playground and make sure they are washing their hands."

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