Seattle parks will stay open this weekend with same coronavirus guidelines, plus rain


Major Seattle parks will be open again this weekend, with the same coronavirus restrictions that applied last weekend, according to the city.

The Green Lake Park and Seward Park Loop Trails will remain open to pedestrians only. Beach activities will remain prohibited at Golden Gardens and Alki Beach. Visitors to the park will once again be encouraged to “shake things up” by walking, running or biking, said Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent Jesús Aguirre. The car parks of the large parks will remain closed.

Hundreds of small neighborhood parks have been opened throughout the pandemic. But Seattle banned the use of playgrounds, athletic fields, and athletic fields weeks ago, taping up playground structures and swings.

Coronavirus overcrowding issues prompted Mayor Jenny Durkan to close 15 large parks over the weekend of April 11, which was marked by sunny spring weather. The mayor kept those parks open last weekend and visits increased last Sunday when the weather warmed up again, according to data collected by Parks and Rec employees.

Employees recorded 17,277 people in the 15 major parks last Sunday, as the temperature soared to 65 degrees, compared to just 5,989 people last Saturday, which was gray and cooler.

“Saturday was typical weather,” Aguirre said in an interview. “Then, Sunday was beautiful…. In Seattle, we’ve been mostly indoors since November, so sunny days really do push people out.

Overcrowding issues could be alleviated by the weather this weekend. Friday afternoon, the National Weather Service forecast rain on Saturday, with a high of 62 degrees, and cloudiness on Sunday, again with a high of 62.

Parks and Rec employees numbered around 2,000 at major Seattle parks between April 16 and April 22. Green Lake Park was the most popular during this period, with 8,351 people.

Alki Beach attracted the most people at one point, with 650 park visitors counted at one time.

This week, the city used lumber and duct tape to restrict access to most benches and picnic tables along the popular stretch (some benches will remain open for people with disabilities and reduced mobility).

“Every park is different,” Aguirre said. “Alki was a challenge. It is narrow and very popular. The crowds there can make social distancing difficult.

Some parks were surveyed more than others. For example, employees scored 270 points at Magnuson Park but only 93 at Kubota Garden. Aguirre described the counts as “snapshots” rather than scientific reports.

Employees reported only minimal instances of problematic overcrowding and most park visitors who were warned to stay away from each other complied. Parks and Recreation employees carried out 434 “direct interventions”.

“Overall, people comply when they can,” Aguirre said.

“Keep moving” guidelines are not ideal, Aguirre said. “But we need people to help” control the spread of the coronavirus, he said.


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