This note has been prepared at the request of the Play Safety Forum including, notably, Play England, Play Scotland, Play Wales and PlayBoard Northern Ireland. The purpose is to summarise emerging evidence on the effects of play restrictions in terms of a) reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the population and b) the detriments to children resulting from the restrictions. It is concluded that the current UK interventions need to be urgently reviewed because:
The benefits to children of playing outside bring a host of social, emotional and physical rewards. These have long been undervalued and at this time appear to have been completely ignored. Consequently, children are suffering harm;
The evidence is that the risks posed by COVID-19 to children playing in outdoor spaces is very low;
Proportionate decision making requires that trade-offs between the risks and benefits of safety interventions are part of the decision process. The evidence summarised below is that current UK policy is much more harmful to children than beneficial.