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Playgrounds go quiet for now
Playground closed.jpg
The Jungle Jym at McMinnville Civic Center is closed until further notice. City officials are expected to discuss reopening city facilities this Tuesday.

(AP) — Instead of joyful peals of laughter from children, only the chirping of birds, or perhaps a lone car rumbling past on the street, can be heard.

Like other suddenly empty public spaces, playgrounds across the world have fallen silent and abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From Moscow to Mumbai, monkey bars and sandboxes lie lonely and unused behind caution tape, temporary fencing and signs announcing closures.

In the city of McMinnville, public playgrounds remain closed. This includes the popular Jungle Jym at McMinnville Civic Center where caution tape blocks the entrance.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has announced his stay-at-home restrictions will expire April 30. McMinnville Mayor Ben Newman says city officials have yet to discuss their reopening plans, a discussion which is expected to take place during the regularly scheduled Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting Tuesday, April 28.

Newman says he doesn’t know what will be decided about reopening attractions like Park Theater, the city fitness facility at Three Star Mall, and playgrounds.

It’s not just McMinnville where playgrounds are still. It’s a worldwide phenomenon due to COVID-19 concerns.

In Caracas, Venezuela, a man sleeps on a bench that in better times might be used by a parent watching a little one run about with her friends.

In Budapest, Hungary, a playground encircled by a strip of yellow plastic is blanketed in undisturbed snow from an early spring storm.

And in Santiago, Chile, swing chains are knotted together to keep them from being used.

Children are believed to play a significant role in transmitting the virus, even if they rarely fall ill.

In hard-hit Spain, kids have been under a total confinement order for many weeks, though the government is allowing them outside for brief periods each day beginning April 27 as the country slowly begins emerging from lockdown.

There and elsewhere, it will be a while longer before playgrounds are once again places of laughter and mirth.