Mayor Jenny A. Durkan has announced additional steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Researchers are estimating that there are 1,100 active COVID-19 infections in our region. By early April, the region may see 25,000 people infected if no actions are taken. To prevent the further spread of COVID-19, The Seattle Public Library will close all Library locations. Except for preschool programs and hygiene services, Seattle Parks and Recreation will cancel all programming, rentals, and permitted events, and close all community centers, pools, environmental learning centers, and all other recreation facilities to the public.
This announcement follows the State and County’s new measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including a prohibition of events with more than 250 people, and a prohibition on events with less than 250 people, if they don’t meet public health guidance on social distancing and hygiene. All closures will take effect at 6 p.m. tomorrow, March 13, and will last until at least April 13. The City will be in continued contact with public health officials to evaluate our facilities beyond this timeline. …
Many vulnerable populations, including people living unsheltered, rely on community centers and libraries to provide critical hygiene services. That’s why Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) will continue the shower program for those in need at Delridge, Green Lake, Meadowbrook, Miller and Rainier community centers, and all SPR bathrooms and handwashing stations will remain open.
Understanding our preschool programs are critical for families in Seattle, the City will allow preschool programs in community centers to operate with the latest public heath guidance, and the department will evaluate the feasibility of continuing to keep these programs open. Affordable and accessible childcare and preschool is critical for so many residents, especially as Seattle Public Schools close, which is why SPR is also looking to create alternate programs for before and after school care. All facilities that remain open will continue to be cleaned in accordance with public health guidance.
The Seattle Public Library (SPL) will continue to provide many digital services, such as e-books and e-audiobooks; streaming movies, TV and music services; free access to magazines and newspapers; and more. SPL’s ‘Ask Us’ reference question platform, which can be accessed online and or by phone, may experience some downtime as the Library works to enable staff to do this work from home. The Library is also extending loan periods during this time, and patrons do not need to return materials until SPL is back in full operation. SPL is also a fine-free library, so no patrons will incur late fines during this time.
“We are in the midst of unprecedented times and challenges and, while it is difficult to make the decision to close our libraries to respond to COVID-19, I know it is the right one for the health and safety of our public, staff and volunteers,” said Chief Librarian Marcellus Turner. “We encourage all cardholders to explore our rich collection of digital resources during this period of limited social contact and limited recreational options. We provide free access to music, movies, TV, newspapers, magazines and more. We will be looking at other creative ways to serve our community during this time, and we look forward to welcoming our patrons back into our buildings as soon as we can.”
Even before this announcement, SPL said it was closing its branches at 6 tonight because of staffing shortages.