KITCHENER -- The caution tape was removed from playgrounds Friday as Waterloo Region moved into Stage 3 of the province's economic recovery plan.

Families flocked to the playgrounds to spend time on the equipment for the first time in four months.

"I used to go every day, but when they closed it was just really sad," playground user Paige Nguyen said.

The 12-year-old was happy to be back, even for a physically distanced playtime.

"[We] try to keep your distance, like going down the slide, maybe just go down one at a time," Nguyen said.

City of Kitchener officials said the public should remember play structures aren't cleaned or sanitized by staff. The same goes for facilities throughout Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.

Some parents are using hand sanitizer and increased hand washing to keep their kids safe.

Officials said parents should maintain proper hygiene and remind kids not to touch their faces.

"We all need to make sure we do our part to make sure we don't reverse and go backwards so we can keep these amenities open," Ward 5 Coun. Kelly Galloway-Sealock said.

Officials in the Tri-Cities said it's important everyone is responsible and keeps themselves safe to make sure the region can continue with reopening.