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Good news for those with stir-crazy kids: Seattle Parks and Recreation is reopening 150 outdoor play areas to the public with new safety guidelines Tuesday.
The play areas closed in March when the novel coronavirus first hit the region as they were considered “high touch” areas that could easily spread the virus. But with new research showing that the virus is unlikely to spread through surfaces, the city’s parks have gotten the green light to reopen with new rules in place to limit transmission.
To keep swings, climbers and slides safe, play equipment will be limited to five or fewer children at any one time. In accordance with the statewide mask mandate, all children above the age of two will be required to wear a mask although there are some exceptions.
To maintain social distancing and occupancy requirements, the department is asking parents to visit parks at less busy times and only stay for 30 minutes or less to give others the opportunity to play. Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Lincoln, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of the more popular play areas in the city and may be busier during weekends.
“We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded,” Seattle Parks wrote in its blog. “We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.”
Cal Anderson’s playground will remain closed as the park has not officially reopened in the wake of summer protests.
Those who have canceled their gym membership in the past months are also in luck as outdoor fitness equipment at all Seattle parks reopened Tuesday. The equipment follows similar guidelines to play areas, including limiting use to five or fewer people at any one time and requiring masks.
The department also emphasized that play areas and fitness equipment are not regularly sanitized or cleaned and all users should wash or sanitize hands before and after play and avoid touching their face.