Play time is over in King County.
Playgrounds, sports courts and other recreational areas in King County are now closed to maintain the social distancing recommendations amid the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
The City of Seattle, King County and the Washington Department of Health, King County Parks and Seattle Parks and Recreations are closing sports courts, playground equipment, and other active recreation areas, announced in a press release on Friday evening (March 20).
Ballfields and playfields do remain open for walking and other individual activities, but 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, according to the county.
Restrooms within parks remain open to the public, and are cleaned and sanitized frequently, the county reports.
The general population should shy away from team activities at this time, the county advised. Pickup or group sports games, picnics, and other large gatherings are not permitted.
“With schools closed and people adapting to new work habits, our parks and open spaces can provide an important break in these stressful times,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine in the announcement.
Constantine said the public must continue to be vigilant in social distancing practices in these places too.
Instead, go for a hike, take a family stroll or kick a soccer ball around with your kids, Constantine suggested, but avoid gatherings, team sports and playground equipment at this time.
“Parks are beloved by all, but we must be smart about our behaviors during this unprecedented public health emergency,” said Mayor of Seattle Jenny Durkan in the announcement.
“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.”
While parks and open public spaces provide support the community needs during this time of uncertainty, relief found in nature must be done in a way that does not work against efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
Residents and visitors to the area are encouraged to practice social distancing and not participate in organized activities that go against Public Health guidance.