EVERETT, Wash. - Everett City officials say they have an issue with people misusing their parks during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’ve had a lot of crowds out in the park due to the nice weather,” said Bob Leonard. “Using the parks like it was a typical summer weekend, or a typical holiday weekend, not like there is a pandemic going on,” he added.
Leonard is the Director of Parks for the City of Everett.
He says the way the community is using city parks is causing several concerns.
There is an obvious concern focusing on safety and social distancing, but Leonard says due to limited city staffing at parks, litter is also becoming an issue.
“We have limited staff out there with the hope and expectation that we would have a lot less traffic and therefore a lot less garbage,” he said.
Leonard says the city wants the community to go outside; they want the community to use city parks, however the hope is the community will use them responsibly.
“To be able to enjoy the parks on a more passive nature, to go to their local park, exercise, walk their dog, ride a bike, but not to stay for any length of time, or gather in groups, or use any of the active recreation amenities,” said Leonard.
Leonard suggests if you have to drive to a park, then you probably shouldn’t be going there during the coronavirus. Instead, he says use parks that are within walking or biking distance to where you live.
Parking lots at city parks have been closed off in an effort to encourage people not to drive to them, Leonard says. He says they’ve also locked up other amenities at the parks, like bathrooms, to discourage people from staying too long.
However, if people disregard these requests from the city, Leonard asks they do not park in front of gates. Leonard says this could impact first responders ability to do their jobs. He also asks that you take your trash with you when you leave.