By Shereen Siewert

Despite the state Supreme Court decision last week overturning Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order, playgrounds in Wausau and Marathon County remain closed – with new fencing to keep the public out.

Wausau and Marathon County Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Jamie Polley confirmed the move Monday in an email to Wausau Pilot & Review and said the fencing effort began early last week, before the Supreme Court ruling.

“Early last week…we began using snow fencing on some playgrounds because the caution tape was not staying in place,” Polley said. “We did not get to all playgrounds. Our plan was to continue to use snow fencing on playgrounds that where the caution tape has been an issue. This includes both City and County parks.”

An announcement was posted May 15 on the department’s Facebook page alerting residents that playgrounds remain closed at this time.

The post reads: “Marathon County COVID-19 Order #1 recommends the implementation of the strategies and practices provided by the WI Economic Development Corporation and the Center for Disease Control.

That means playgrounds, including water playgrounds in local, state or national parks should not be used, according to CDC guidelines. The post goes on to state that using playgrounds could lead to the spread of COVID-19 because they are often crowded, and keeping surfaces clean and disinfected is a challenge. The virus can spread when young children touch contaminated equipment, then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, the post states.

The skate park in Wausau is also closed until further notice.

“We appreciate your understanding and cooperation to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the post reads.

Changes have also been announced for restrooms within parks. Those changes are as follows: