King County Parks also close playgrounds, sports courts over social distancing concerns

Two days after the City of Snoqualmie closed playgrounds over concerns that residents were not practicing social distancing, King County and the City of Seattle have followed suit.

As of Saturday, March 21st, North Bend/Si View Parks remain fully open, and Snoqualmie has only closed playgrounds while basketball, tennis courts and picnic shelters remain open. The City of Duvall closed playgrounds on Friday, March 20th.

The newly announced closures cover any parks in unincorporated areas of North Bend and Snoqualmie, along with all of Fall City.

According to a King County news release, “As part of its evolving response to the COVID-19 outbreak and with guidance from Public Health – Seattle & King County, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreation are closing active recreation areas in parks, including sports courts, playgrounds, picnic shelters, and other areas where essential social distancing guidelines are difficult to achieve.”

The county said ballfields and play fields 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.

King County has banned park pick-up games, picnics, and other large gatherings. 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 Executive 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 Seattlites, but we must be smart about our behaviors during this unprecedented emergency. We cannot allow congregating in parks or individuals dismissing the guidance that we have been given by our public health leaders,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan.

The National Recreation and Park Association recommends 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.

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