King County And City of Seattle Close playgrounds
We received this press release today:
King County and City of Seattle close playgrounds.
Parks and trails users directed to follow social distancing guidelines.
Help keep our parks open by enjoying parks safely. Parks should be our refuge right now, but they cannot be used as gathering spots. City staff will be out reminding people to stay off play areas and to refrain from pickup games, picnics, parties, BBQs, or other gatherings.
To follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines established by Public Health—Seattle & King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing playground equipment and other active recreation areas where it could be difficult to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines.
Ballfields and playfields are open for walking and other non-team activities.
The closure includes picnic shelters, basketball and tennis courts, ballfields, and other active recreation locations. Parks, natural lands, regional trails, backcountry trails, and beaches where social distancing can be maintained remain open.
Pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings will not be permitted.
Restrooms within parks will continue to be open to the public, and will be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
“With schools closed and people adapting to new work habits, our parks and open spaces can provide an important break in these stressful times. It is clear, however, that we must continue to be vigilant in these places as well, and make sure all our residents put into practice Public Health directives,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “Go for a hike. Take the family for a stroll. Kick a soccer ball around with your kids. But use good sense and avoid gatherings, team sports, pick-up games, and playground equipment.”
“Parks are beloved by all, but we must be smart about our behaviors during this unprecedented public health emergency. We are in a new normal. While individuals and families can bike, walk, or run, we cannot allow gatherings at Seattle’s best locations including Alki, Golden Gardens, Seward, Volunteer Park or Magnuson. Every single resident should take social distancing guidelines to heart – it could save someone’s life,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.
“We know that parks and open space provide a critical support to our communities during this difficult time, and we want to provide these opportunities to find respite and relief in nature, but we need to be able to do so in way that does not work against our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. We encourage residents and visitors to practice social distancing and not participate in organized activities that go against Public Health guidance,” said Jesús Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “City and County employees will be reiterating this guidance to individuals who are not practicing social distancing.”
As noted by the National Recreation and Park Association, there are a number of specific recommendations for practicing safe social distancing when in parks or on trails, including:
- Follow CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to heading to parks and trails — wash hands, carry hand sanitizer, do not visit public spaces if you have symptoms, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, etc.
- Observe at all times CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of six feet from other people. Practice it and know what it looks like. Keep it as you walk, bike or hike.
- Bring a suitable trash bag. Leave no trash, take everything out to protect park workers.