The confusing case of the fast food playground
So I was scrolling through the AMAs and Criteria Logs to see how to explain Fast Food Playgrounds to people. And there's a lot of contradicting information.
In the AMAs alone there are 3 Answers confirming Fast Food playgrounds being eligible
Q54: Playgrounds are 5* but what about playgrounds inside fast food restaurants?
A54: Like McDonald's Play Places? Aren't they commercial entities? The OPR guide says "ACCEPT if the candidate is in a park or community gathering place; falls under the criteria of public spaces that encourage walk and exercise."
Q47: Your clarification from the September 2018 AMA about playgrounds at restaurants is unfortunately a hot topic of contention in our local community, and is often interpreted as "NIA is monitoring fast food playgrounds." Would it be possible to just spell it out with a definitive answer, such as 'Playground OK, Restaurant No'?
A47: This is exactly what the clarification said. NIA OPS said, “the playground typically meets the criteria of regular playgrounds...The business itself in the case of McDonald's would likely not meet the Portal criteria. So the playground is ok. Just don't try to submit every McDonald's location as those will get denied.”
Q64: Hey there Andrew... hope you're well? was good to chat with you in Kaunas. What are NIA and yourself's feelings about Softplay areas for kids with regards to portal submissions? Inparticularly indoor ones?
A64: The response to this question is the same as the response in March to the McDonald’s playgrounds. NIA OPS said, “the playground typically meets the criteria of regular playgrounds...The business itself in the case of McDonald's would likely not meet the Portal criteria. So the playground is ok. Just don't try to submit every McDonald's location as those will get denied.”
However, there's another AMA answer that seems to contradict this.
Q49: There has been a lot of confusion regarding certain types of playgrounds. It seemed like indoor playgrounds, even McDonalds playgrounds, were canonized; then uncanonized in the new wayfarer guide(by requiring historical or cultural significance that no playground I’m aware of has), and then in the last AMA given a status as ok as long as it’s not a part of a business. Can we get clarification/simplification on this such as ‘playgrounds are valid as long as they are not on school property, a military base, or part of a daycare’?
A49: NIA OPS informs me that, “Playgrounds are eligible, as long as they are not located on primary and secondary school grounds, child care centers, day care centers, or private residential property. For these indoor playgrounds, if they’re publicly accessible play areas (like a generic playground in a mall), yes. If it's part of a commercial business (like McDonalds), no.”
And the most recent Jan 2020 criteria log has
Outdoor and Indoor Playgrounds
- Playgrounds in parks and apartment complexes: accept one nomination per play area. If a Wayspot already exists for the play area, mark the individual play structures as duplicates of the play area’s Wayspot. For example, there shouldn’t be individual Wayspots for the slide and swing set within a play area, but rather one for that playground overall.
- Play areas in freely accessible areas of a mall.
- Not acceptable:
- Playgrounds in schools, daycares, or children's centers
- Play areas attached to or within 40 meters of private residences
- Commercial play areas; review them as you would any business
Which leaves the Fast Food Playground in a bit of a limbo, since Playground at Fast Food areas aren't exactly commercial play areas. There's no charge to use them like a commercial business based around a play area. They're free to use and restaurants will let kids play on them regardless of whether or not they're there to eat. The only real limiting factor is that the indoor ones have open/closed hours with the restaurant. But all the above is true of mall playgrounds.
This also ties into the coin rides AMA clarification a bit.
Q41: Do coin-operated machine play areas like this in front of stores and in malls make acceptable portal candidates?
A41: According to NIA OPS, “This is similar to the McDonalds' Play Area question - if this is a publicly accessible play area in the mall, yes. If it's part of a commercial business, no.”
Which implied that coin rides were similar to the McDonalds playgrounds clarification, where they were acceptable. This clarification held true in the Criteria Clarification logs posted in both Oct.2019 and Jan.2020 Updates.
So I'm wondering if the clarification saying McDonalds playgrounds were an example of commercial business was different perspective (like we've seen before) or if this was indeed the nixing of all playgrounds inside fast food locations?