Seattle parks to be open this weekend with new guidelines

SEATTLE -- Seattle’s parks will stay open this weekend, with some new guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Last weekend, Seattle closed its most popular parks and beaches because of concerns that crowds would gather in warmer weather and spread the virus.

Mayor Jenny Durkan said Thursday that the city would keep all its parks open, but that residents must keep moving and not play sports, picnic or barbecue.

New this weekend, the loop trails at Green Lake and Seward Park will be open only to pedestrians and “beach activities” will be banned at Golden Gardens and Alki Beach, with fire pits closed.

The city also is closing 2.5 miles of residential streets in the Central District and West Seattle starting Saturday, to allow more space for pedestrians and people biking to move around and comply with social-distancing recommendations. In the coming weeks, 15 miles of streets will be closed.

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Sunny skies last weekend drew hundreds of people to the 15 parks that were closed, forcing Seattle Parks and Recreation employees to turn them away in some instances, The Seattle Times reported. But the city described residents as “overwhelmingly compliant.”

Parking lots at the major parks will remain closed. Seattle banned the use of playgrounds, athletic fields and sports courts weeks ago, taping off playground structures and swings.

“The governor’s order is stay home — not stay out,” Durkan said in the release, referring to Gov. Jay Inslee’s order directing Washington residents to stay home except for essential activities.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will monitor conditions over the weekend and will close parks if there are too many gatherings or too many people.