SEATTLE — The city of Seattle is rolling out new guidelines for people using the city’s parks, greenways, and farmers markets during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mayor Jenny Durkan’s office announced Thursday that the city will allow major parks to remain open through the weekend, but will require residents to “keep moving" in an effort to maintain social distancing and slow the spread of the virus.
"The Governor’s order is stay home – not stay out. The social distancing necessary to keep us healthy will mean a new normal for Seattle’s parks, farmers markets, and public amenities. Stay home, but if you need to exercise or go to get groceries at the farmers market, please no crowds, no gatherings, and keep it moving,” said Mayor Durkan. “We know that this virus isn’t leaving our community for a long time, but I am hopeful that Seattle can adapt."
Parking lots at larger parks will remain closed, and additional rules are in place for Green Lake, Seward Park, Alki Beach, and Golden Gardens such as no fire pits, picnics or barbeques, no gatherings or beach activities, and loop trails remain open to pedestrian use only.
Here's more information on what's open and closed.
People will also notice new signage posted at Seattle parks encouraging social distancing and to keep things moving.
Seattle Parks and Recreation will also be deploying 60 new "Social Distancing Ambassadors" at major parks who will remind people to socially distance. The ambassadors will take hourly data on the park's usage and will close any park where usage is too high or people are not following the social distancing rules.
People can also now report a lack of social distancing by calling 206-684-4075 or emailing the parks department at email@example.com.
The changes come after last weekend's complete closure of 15 of Seattle's largest parks in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, SDOT is converting 2.5 miles of existing neighborhood greenways and residential streets into "Stay Healthy Streets" this Saturday, April 18.
The first two greenways will be in the Central District and West Seattle/High Point neighborhoods. Portions of neighborhood greenways along 25th Ave S and 34th Ave SW/SW Graham and Holly St/High Point Dr SW will open up to people living in the neighborhood for walking, rolling, and biking.
Those streets will be closed to through traffic, but not residents or deliveries, 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of the emergency or until otherwise noted by the city, officials said.
SDOT plans to re-evaluate after this weekend's pilot and get community recommendations on the "Stay Healthy Streets" project.
“Seattle has thousands of acres of parks for our residents. Parks are serving as an incredible source of relief during this stressful time in our city, but we need to start using them in new ways. We ask that you keep it moving while in parks, and ensure that you are not contributing to creating a crowded or busy park. We have staff and signage out, but we are relying on the public to follow these new guidelines so that we can keep our parks open and safe,” said Jesus Aguirre, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent.
Another development for this weekend is the University District and Ballard Farmers Markets will reopen on a one time permit, which could be extended if shoppers and vendors are able to stick to the new rules put in place by market leaders.