Oakland County Closes All Playgrounds, Shopping Malls Amid Virus Outbreak

WWJ News
March 21, 2020 - 12:07 pm

PONTIAC (WWJ) - All playgrounds and shopping malls in Oakland County have been ordered to close to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Oakland County Health Division on Saturday issued emergency orders to close all shopping malls, playground equipment and require all childcare centers to develop and implement a daily screening protocol for children, staff, parents and visitors to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus.

County Executive Dave Coulter announced the orders hours after reporting the first coronavirus-related death of a resident from the county.

Coulter said residents can still go out and enjoy the parks, but should stay off the playgrounds because there's no guarentee the equipment is not infected. 

"The steps we take today – as individuals, businesses and government – will save lives," he said. "We have to protect our hospital systems so they stay equipped to help the very sickest. We can get through this together, but we have to act together."

The ban on indoor and outdoor playground equipment takes place immediately. Playground equipment in childcare centers and areas without playground equipment such as walking trails and grassy areas are exempt from the order.

The order closing Oakland County shopping malls takes effect at noon Saturday. Shopping malls are defined as a large indoor retail complex containing a variety of stores and often restaurants and other business establishments housed in a series of connected or adjacent buildings or in a single large building.  

The childcare order, which takes effect Monday, requires the development and implementation of a daily screening program for all staff, children, parents, and visitors. Non-essential visitors are restricted from the daycare. Everyone would be screened for symptoms of a respiratory infection such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, or sore throat; and close contact in the last 14 days with someone with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. Procedures must be in place to take the temperature of all covered individuals.

The orders are effective until April 17.