Joburg parks cautiously reopens to enable residents to exercise

15 July 2020
Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) has commenced with the phased-in reopening of parks to allow residents to keep fit and healthy, by exercising in close proximity to their homes.

Conservation areas including The Wilds, Kloofendal and the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserves and the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens will be re-opened by 1 August 2020 in line with the resource roll-out plan.

Park users are urged to be cautious and vigilant at all times by adhering to the following 10 mandatory requirements:
  1. It is compulsory to wear a mask in public spaces at all times.
  2. Practice social distancing of a minimum of 2-3 metres apart.
  3. Picnics, events or gatherings are strictly prohibited.
  4. Ensure that hands are washed and sanitized prior to entering a city parks facility.
  5. Exercise only with persons within your household which is limited to a maximum of 5 people in a group.
  6. Refrain from using the ablution facilities and the playgrounds.
  7. Remind children that the use of the gym and play equipment is prohibited.
  8. Take all disposables home, including empty bottles and paper cups.
  9. Leave all valuables at home to avoid opportunistic crime in less frequented facilities.
  10. Abide by the public open spaces by-laws, in place.

Councillor Margaret Arnolds, the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development in the City of Joburg, welcomed the announcement by President Ramaphosa. Arnolds, however, cautioned residents that the onus to prevent the spread of the virus remains in the hands of every user. “Common sense must prevail. If you are feeling unwell; self-isolating or if there are too many users in the park, then protect yourself and your loved ones by staying safely at home,” she urged.

JCPZ’S operations have been affected by Covid-19 infections which resulted in various depots being temporary closed to enable operational and security staff to self-isolate while the necessary decontamination protocols are concluded. The phasing-in of the opening of conservation areas and nature reserves is due to scarce resources and the need for employees to be issued with proper personal protection. In the interim, there are over 2 100 parks that can be utilized.

Park-users are urged to carry their personal sanitizer and to refrain from utilizing park benches, bins, outdoor gyms, play equipment and ablution facilities. Arnolds appealed to residents for compliance and support, stating that, “The Presidency has heard your call to reopen parks, particularly for residents who do not have access to exercising outdoors. Therefore, the responsibility to exercise with caution lies in the hands of every individual.”