CHANGES: What’s reopening at Seattle Parks, and what’s not

As mentioned briefly in our nightly virus-crisis roundup, Seattle Parks published an announcement late Friday about what’s reopening in its system – and what’s not. In case you didn’t click through to the full announcement, here are the highlights:

(With this caveat: “Maintenance crews will be reinstalling nets and hoops over the next few weeks. No more than five people should be on the court at a time, players should refrain from sharing sports equipment, and give each other six-feet of social distance while recreating.”)

Tennis/pickleball courts
Basketball courts
Disc golf
Community gardens
Golf courses
Boat ramps (by June 20)
Trails and walking paths
Outdoor barbecue grills
Picnic tables (not larger picnic shelters)
Public restrooms
Off Leash Areas
Volleyball courts
Athletic fields (for non-organized use and team practices starting 7/1)
Swimming Areas (beginning July 1 at 5 locations)
For a full list visit our blog

Play areas and playgrounds
Adult fitness equipment
Picnic shelters
Fire pits
Community Centers/Environmental Learning Centers (programs)

“Popular parks will close early, at sunset, and many parking restrictions will continue to limit crowding.”

The city will begin taking reservations for athletic field practices Wednesday (June 17) for select fields, “with permitted practices starting July 1 for organizations committed to operating consistent with the Governor’s guidance, a prerequisite for reserving fields. Several fields throughout the city will be reserved for informal drop-in use by the public throughout the summer.”

“Indoor and outdoor pools, wading pools, and spray parks will remain closed for the summer. While the Governor has permitted pool use in phase 1.5 with very limited capacity, Seattle Parks and Recreation previously decided to focus staff resources to provide outdoor lifeguarded swimming areas for summer 2020.”

One last note – you’re likely to see new signage. From Parks’ announcement: “In place of ‘Keep It Moving’ messaging, Seattle Parks and Recreation will be asking park goers to ‘Keep It Small and Simple.’ The public is encouraged to visit parks and enjoy trails, walking paths, and lawns, but must refrain from large gatherings, large sport games, or parties.”

P.S. Many of the facilities/features now reopening have been closed for almost three months.

73 Replies to "CHANGES: What's reopening at Seattle Parks, and what's not"

  • Mj June 13, 2020 (10:57 am)

    Let’s see my 3 year old can’t go down a slide at a park but thousands of people can be arm and arm in DT Seattle, seems hypocritical to me?

    • LJ June 13, 2020 (2:58 pm)

      Is your 3-year-old going down slides to help end systemic racism? If not, this is not a good comparison. (If s/he is, kudos to them.)

      • Also John June 13, 2020 (4:19 pm)

        LJ…….Thank you.

      • WS Guy June 13, 2020 (6:29 pm)

        Good point.  I heard that the virus is on the side of social justice.  It refuses to transmit to an individual that is engaged in protest.  The science on that is clear – there has been no spike in case count commensurate with thousands of closely packed protesters for more than a week.

        I also know this because the virus does not see borders between nations.  Even when people are not crossing those borders because they are closed, the virus makes its way across as a sign of global solidarity.

      • Tim Simms June 13, 2020 (9:58 pm)

        LJ: Thank you for being clear that these measures are not about public safety. The Covid doesn’t know whether people are protesting or not. It’ll infect anyone; Covid isn’t racist, sexist, or elitist.

        • LJ June 14, 2020 (10:41 am)

          Protesting racism and police brutality IS about public safety.

    • AMD June 13, 2020 (6:09 pm)

      I know you intended this as snark, but it bears mentioning that no level of government encouraged people to group up, march “arm in arm”, or otherwise gather in large groups in close proximity with numerous people from outside their household.  They didn’t stop them either, but they haven’t been enforcing the distancing measures across the board.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s remember they’re learning more about the virus over time so guidance is bound to change.  The playgrounds were closed when there was much more concern about transmission via surfaces than there is today.  On the other hand, we now know that masks are much, much more helpful in preventing the spread of the virus than was previously stated.  As far as whether three-year-olds should be playing openly in common spaces, there’s a couple things to consider.  Outdoor transmission and transmission via touching common surfaces are now believed to be less likely sources of infection.  But at the same time toddlers are notoriously bad at social distancing and wearing masks (which we now have evidence are the most effective means of slowing the spread).  Most three-year-olds I know have keen imaginations and will find fun in any space, slide or not.  They will update the slide rules in due time.  In the meantime, I think more focus on the big picture would help.

      • Tim Simms June 13, 2020 (10:04 pm)

        AMD:  Know that I intend no snark at all. Whether the government encourages behavior or not doesn’t matter. Whether the behavior is socially conscious or not doesn’t matter. The Covid does not decide whom to infect, it simply infects.You mention that playgrounds were closed when there was much more concern about transmission via surfaces, yet playgrounds continue to be closed.If the government is to guide us effectively during this pandemic, the government needs to take everything into account, and make policies based on science, which the playground issue clearly shows they are not.

        • AMD June 14, 2020 (4:04 am)

          I was replying to MJ, it just sorted my comment below yours.  I appreciate your comment.  :)

    • 98126res June 13, 2020 (6:56 pm)

      Seattle is a real head scratcher

  • Al June 13, 2020 (11:18 am)

    What about camp long? I am often surprised to find it closed at odd times, for seemingly no reason. 

  • Suz June 13, 2020 (11:45 am)

    Somebody dumped a bunch of park COVID related signs in our alley.  I sent picture & location to Seattle Find It Fix It app

  • Onion June 13, 2020 (11:50 am)

    The announcement indicates that many parking restrictions remain, but doesn’t say or hint about opening the parking lots at Lincoln Park. Has anyone seen whether some or all parking has been restored?

  • bolo June 13, 2020 (11:59 am)

    “Basketball courts” “No more than five people should be on the court at a time, players should refrain from sharing sports equipment, and give each other six-feet of social distance while recreating.”

    So if I am understanding this, me and some friends can go play H-O-R-S-E if everybody brings their own ball? Just trying to keep up a few skills.

    • Brian June 13, 2020 (3:27 pm)

      That’s how I interpret it. Go have some fun. 

    • Rick June 13, 2020 (5:21 pm)

      Makes lay ups a whole lot easier.

      • bolo June 13, 2020 (11:34 pm)

        You know it. I need all the help I can get!

  • Toddler parent June 13, 2020 (12:01 pm)

    Playgrounds still closed? When kids are shown to be the least susceptible to the virus (and many daycares are still operating). Ugh. Seattle parks is just continuing to make parents miserable. I suspect more and more rogue playground usage will pick up. This is ridiculous. Kids need sunshine, fresh air, playtime, socialization. The closed parking areas also keep it harder for people to visit who aren’t fortunate enough to live near places like Lincoln Park. This is very disappointing and not science based. 

    • WSB June 13, 2020 (12:12 pm)

      According to an exchange on Twitter, Seattle Parks is still waiting for the governor’s rules re: play areas.

    • J June 13, 2020 (1:01 pm)

      Agreed, open the damn playgrounds. Kids are getting the most stripped away during this time, play is critical to their development. My 3 year old knows to keep his distance and does when passing others on a sidewalk. Just let them play and be kids again 😩

      • John June 13, 2020 (8:30 pm)

        My 3-year old will pick her nose and wipe it on the monkey bars, and will sneeze on your back and face, and will do so in your sweet kid’s perfect bubble when she crawls up the slide while he descends. Then she will dutifully straighten the mask she wears everywhere. But none of her germs are transmissible, because I love her so much. 

    • MW June 13, 2020 (1:09 pm)

      Fellow toddler parent here and it is really disheartening to not allow our kids access to the playgrounds when the science seems to support it being a safe activity. Just passing along what I have seen in many neighboring cities (Edmonds, Shoreline, etc.). They will be opening playgrounds in phase 3 so presumably Seattle Parks may as well. 

    • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (2:16 pm)

      Keep in mind while things like playgrounds are restricted, that kids can easily spread the virus to adults, and the virus can be severe or deadly for some.
      There are other creative activities for kids to get exercise and to use their imagination, that are not as risky for contributing to the spread of this virus.

      Hang in there, we’ll get through this pandemic.

    • KB June 13, 2020 (3:33 pm)

      Agreed. How can we open the lake beaches but not the wading pools? There’s so many restrictions for the small kids. It’s going to be a tough summer. 

      • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (9:44 pm)

        Maybe because there isn’t enough staff to help monitor social distancing at all types of pools, so they are only opening 5 swimming areas for now and lifeguards will be helping to support social distancing? Just a thought. 

        There seems to be a lot of black or white / inflexible thinking regarding the restrictions. Maybe if people try to see the nuances, and possible logic, and understand these efforts are for public safety (not to ruin your summer), there will be less frustration.

  • Guy Olson June 13, 2020 (12:20 pm)

    People are now just having beach fires on or around the Alki fire pits now. They are also burning more driftwood than in in the past. Having the fire pits does somewhat discourage fire though I guess. 

  • BettytheYeti June 13, 2020 (1:04 pm)

    I believe there should be a budget wind fall as the Park Levee, Library levee,  and school levee collected property taxes and  All CLOSED FOR the COVID- POLLAZA.

    • Rumbles June 13, 2020 (2:02 pm)

      Are you referring to a levy?  

    • Vic June 13, 2020 (3:31 pm)

      Sorry to break it to you but their budgets aren’t that big to begin with.

    • Ryan Packer June 13, 2020 (3:59 pm)

      Thankfully we kept paying librarians even though the libraries were closed.

      • Seaweed June 13, 2020 (6:48 pm)

        Have any City Employees been layed off?Have they had to apply for Unemployment benefits?

        • bertha June 14, 2020 (8:25 am)

          430 have been laid off in the Parks Department. Budget shortfall of, last I heard, $300 million so I would think there will be more in every City department. 

    • datamuse June 13, 2020 (5:37 pm)

      Libraries’ online services are still open and their e-book and e-audio collection is huge.

    • Lina June 13, 2020 (6:16 pm)

      Their expenses are still huge, employees still being paid and as much maintenance as can be accomplished is being done.  So no, there should not be a windfall.

  • john June 13, 2020 (1:23 pm)

    From the 5/22 WSB,  regarding the Orchard Street Ravine hidden park’s removal of house.  I plainly see this house from my home.  Nothing was done in May and now half of June.  Is there any revised info?Seattle Parks announced “Watterson Excavating will be working in late May to demolish the structure on site.”  

  • Bradley June 13, 2020 (1:25 pm)

    All outdoor pools and parking lots should be open. It’s sheer madness that it’s somehow safe for dozens of cars to park along the curbs of Fauntleroy but not in the lot 20-30 feet away.  

    • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (2:29 pm)

      Experts don’t think the virus will be transmitted through the pool water, but it is still considered risky for people to congregate around one another in public places. One kid coughing or sneezing near a bunch of other kids and they could become carriers and infect their families, and on. 

      Please keep in mind this virus is highly contagious and serious and deadly for many.

      • WSB June 13, 2020 (3:36 pm)

        Please note that Parks gives its rationale for not opening pools as, it wants to focus its lifeguard resources on swimming beaches. Given that West Seattle has none (Alki is not considered one), seems a bit unbalanced geographically.

      • Bradley June 13, 2020 (5:25 pm)

        Did you read the article? 5 swimming areas will be open, and all will have crowds and coughing kids.

        • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (7:24 pm)

          Did you read the article? They are only opening a limited number of swimming areas.

          Just because they are opening a few swimming areas doesn’t mean it’s risk free and all swimming areas or pools should be open at this time. 

          Hopefully there will be signage encouraging social distancing and the lifeguards will be supporting this. They may be testing how it goes at these 5 locations. 

          If people can keep some distance between one another at swimming areas, hopefully it will be fine.  When I think of a public pool, it’s harder to imagine that being possible there.

          And I’m glad some swimming areas will be open and hope people manage it responsibly so they can stay open all summer. Summer is for swimming!

          • Bradley June 13, 2020 (9:47 pm)

            Yes, summer is for swimming, but not for West Seattle residents. INsAniTy 

          • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (10:44 pm)

            Not in WS, but residents can go visit these other locations and enjoy swimming there.

          • heartless June 13, 2020 (10:07 pm)

            Oh, you with your logic…  Good luck with that! 

            Personally I can’t figure out why Bradley wants crowded swimming pools, given he has repeatedly railed against people not wearing masks.  inSaNITy indeed…

          • Bradley June 14, 2020 (1:31 am)

            I told you not to contact me any more. Go away, stalker.

          • heartless June 14, 2020 (6:44 pm)

            Bradley–I feel somewhat embarrassed to have to explain this to you, but if you are posting in a public forum, it’s okay for other people to respond to you (actually in the above case I wasn’t responding to you at all, I was just talking about you). 

            This is not “stalking.”  It’s more like you walk into a bar one week and loudly rant about people not wearing masks and not taking the pandemic seriously, and then you walk in a week later and yell about how all swimming pools should be open and then someone who was there for both occasions says um, what?  And then, precious snowflake that you seem to be, you melt into a puddle while yelling that you’re being stalked. 

            Get a grip.

    • john June 13, 2020 (2:44 pm)

      Regarding Park parking lots and so many other precautions we have been asked to accommodate in hopes of controlling this pandemic, many of them make no sense in the micro context.  It does seem like madness, but through all of these sheerly mad precautions (do we really need that mask walking outside in the empty street?), the great ship America has slowly corrected.  The curve has flattened.  Most of us wash our hands more thoroughly and often.  We have changed long held habits with incredible speed.  Opening of their parking lots is a powerful communication by the Parks Dept. encouraging all to come as in pre-COVID19 summers, crowds and all.  Keeping the parking lot closed, also is a powerful message that we are not out of the pandemic.  Sure, it is easy to park nearby the park as some do, but in addition are those that drive there to realize this is not the time to visit and leave.  On the macro level, that helps us all.

  • Anne June 13, 2020 (2:09 pm)

    Hey-to all the parents upset about playgrounds-just went by Hiawatha-play equipment filled with kids- so guess the rules don’t apply there. Have at it!

    • Rick June 13, 2020 (5:25 pm)

      Well, you know…it’s the Admiral district.

      • Admiral June 13, 2020 (8:09 pm)

        As an Admiral resident, I’m genuinely curious what that means?  What does living in Admiral signify?

    • Seaweed June 13, 2020 (6:49 pm)

      This is what we all need to do.

  • MissK June 13, 2020 (2:14 pm)

    I am so incredibly frustrated with Seattle Parks and Rec. Not only are they not opening up outdoor pools, but they knew all along that they weren’t going to open! If I had known that in advance I could have better emotionally prepared myself for a summer of just work work work. 

  • Matt June 13, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    Does this mean they’ll be turning water fountains back on?  The only one functioning at the moment on the entire running route from Lincoln Park to Marination Ma Kai is at the Alki Boathouse.  I’ve noticed the same issue with fountains elsewhere in the city.  I’d love to see them turn the rest back on and we can decide our own risk tolerance for them. 

    • john June 13, 2020 (3:43 pm)

      Matt, it is all about not encouraging individuals to decide their own risk tolerance, as it is about other peoples safety, like mask wearing.   

    • This is hard but not forever June 13, 2020 (4:30 pm)

      The virus doesn’t care about your risk tolerance. 

      Even if you don’t care about getting sick personally, you getting sick equals others getting sick. Hence measures need to be taken to reduce transmission opportunities in the community.

      Wear a hydration pack.

  • Smittytheclown June 13, 2020 (3:28 pm)

    I think CHAZ has playgrounds. 

  • Manny June 13, 2020 (6:03 pm)

    Golden Gardens parking is closed. Everyone parks on the street. Hasn’t cut down on crowds at all.

  • Mj June 13, 2020 (6:12 pm)

    LJ – racism has no place anywhere!  The point of my comment is that government needs to be consistent in its rules and regulations.  

    • FoxieMoxie June 13, 2020 (8:38 pm)

      As the mom of a four year old, I agree, that the inconsistency from the city is very frustrating. Restaurants can open in some capacity, but my kiddo can’t climb the jungle gym?! That’s asinine. People can play basketball (okay, not actual basketball, but up to 2 on 2, if everyone has their own ball? Sounds greaaat…), beaches (that aren’t here) can open for swimming, but pools can’t…? It just soft-headed… like Mr. Magoo is running things. I also find it curious that many of the Parks and Rec plans were “previously decided” (without informing the public) and so, of course those are written in stone, but the mayor has made decisions of late that are anything but concrete (curfews, etc). It’s all very flippant, which I find exhausting.

      • River June 14, 2020 (11:04 am)

        How are the play areas physically restricted?  With some yellow tape.  Just tear it down and have it. Local government is telling us we can pick and chooses whatever rules/laws we want to abide by cafeteria style.  You see Capitol Hill — do whatever you want.

  • bertha June 14, 2020 (8:38 am)

    Not flippant at all. Do any of you realize the Parks Department’s decisions are based on the State’s phased opening plans and CDC guidelines? Jeez many people seem to have a very simplistic and self-centered view of how the world should operate. It’s NOT about YOU, it’s about US.

  • Mj June 14, 2020 (10:48 am)

    bertha – yes if it’s about us as you state how can the fact that 1000’s of people are blatently ignoring social distancing guidelines not be in the discussion?  

  • john June 14, 2020 (12:21 pm)

    I suggest that the reason their remains restrictions on play areas, is that multiple little kiddos and their attending parents or guardians repeatedly touch the same surface and each other.The Parks Dept. has no crew like Trader Joe’s limiting capacity and wiping down play area equipment after each use.  Every kid climbing the slide ladder, every adult who helps that kid on that ladder…Repeat this with all the other surfaces and playground equipment, ad nauseam.  The play areas, though they are outside, are confined and concentrate kids activities to desirable toys.  The little ones often don’t wear masks, (understandable).  Kids are social and intimate by nature, innocently  crowding together rather than practicing social distancing now needed (ask any kid what 6 feet is?).  Opening up kids areas also encourages group gathering and picnics even,  if discouraged officially. There are no immediately available hand washing stations at play areas, and inevitably people forget to bring or use hand sanitizers.  All of these factors may have some part in keeping the playgrounds closed.I am a huge fan of Lincoln Park’s play areas.  I refused to buy common play area equipment just so I would have to take my daughter to ‘the park’ every day after work for several years.  I strongly believe in the social skills youngsters (and their accompanying adults) develop through the challenges of play area sharing and meeting new friends of all backgrounds.That being said, I truly feel for the frustration expressed. But please, let’s be cautious now rather than sorry later. 

  • BMC June 14, 2020 (12:33 pm)

    Sooooo by outdoor lifeguards etc – do they mean Greenlake? Or will Coleman be open this summer?

    • WSB June 14, 2020 (12:55 pm)

      The list is swimming beaches only, and nothing in West Seattle is considered a swimming beach.

  • BF June 14, 2020 (1:33 pm)

    I think most of you are a bunch of shallow, entitled, spoiled brats!  We are in the midst of a pandemic and all you can think about is “poor me.”  Get up in the morning and go for a walk or play with your kids and enjoy the beautiful city we live in.  Your kids don’t wake up in the morning thinking I can’t go to the playground or the wadding pool unless you told them that!  Put a plastic pool in your back yard and turn summersaults on the lawn and love this time with your families.  Just be thankful, you are alive and well and make your selfish comments on the WSB!

    • heartless June 14, 2020 (2:16 pm)

      Yes, BF, I completely agree.  In this country the virus has killed more people than died in World War I, and here we have people moaning about the lack of local swimming options. 

      You are all embarrassing yourselves.

      • Chemist June 14, 2020 (6:14 pm)

        You must be referring to just the ww1 USA casualties because the total was closer to 10 million plus there were added civilian casualties.

        • heartless June 14, 2020 (6:38 pm)

          Yep, I was indeed. Tried to make that clear with the “In this country” preface, but it didn’t seem to work– I appreciate your verification.

    • Lisab June 15, 2020 (8:03 pm)

      Soooo agree.  

Sorry, comment time is over.