Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Coronavirus Update: May 29, 2020

Media: Fianna Dickson, 625.6297. Parks & Recreation: 311

Friday, May 29, 2020 at 4 p.m.

May 29, 2020


We hope your families are healthy and well in these challenging times. With Spokane now in phase 2 of the Governor’s four-part Safe Start Washington plan, we’d like to share an update on impacts to Parks & Recreation in the City of Spokane.

The most significant change with phase 2 for Parks & Recreation is allowance of outdoor recreation with fewer than 5 people from outside your household. This means:

  • Pick-up games of less than 5 people from outside your household - in parks, disc golf courses, and on sport courts
  • Use of skate parks with less than 5 people from outside your household
  • Small picnics with less than 5 people from outside your household

We’re updating our park signs to reflect phase 2 guidelines. We ask that you please continue to follow CDC guidelines to avoid the spread of germs.

The dates to move into phases 3 and 4 are not known at this time. Most of our Recreation and Riverfront programs require phase 3 and 4 status to become operational. View a chart of the phases.


Current impacts to Parks & Recreation

Riverfront attractions: New with phase 2: the Numerica SkyRide opened today with revised protocols outlined by the Governor for gondola operations. Only household units may ride together, and social distancing operations will be in place along with enhanced sanitation practices. Hours of operation will be seven days a week, 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. Purchase tickets online and learn more. With spring runoff, it’s a beautiful time to ride! Additional attractions at Riverfront are anticipated to open in phase 3 with revised protocols, including the Numerica Skate Ribbon for wheel sports and the Looff Carrousel. View the video

Golf: Golf courses re-opened May 5 in phase 1 under revised protocols. New with phase 2: foursomes are allowed, while following social distancing. Practice facilities are open to those without tee times, and small group lessons with under 5 people are resuming. Restaurants at the courses are operating as other restaurants are, with limited capacities but some seating available. Tournaments may also resume without giving rise to gatherings. Read the Governor’s update on golf in phase 2.

Recreation programs: In phase 3, we anticipate offering modified camps and classes in alignment with the Governor’s guidelines. However, for now, Recreation programs scheduled to occur on or before June 14 will either be cancelled or postponed. This includes outdoor programs, adult and youth sports, Corbin Art Center classes/camps, personal interest classes, and Therapeutic Recreation Services. We will re-assess summer programs on June 15.

Participants scheduled for activities from now through June 14 will be offered a credit on their account. If you have questions, please call us at 311 (outside the city, dial 509.755.2489) and we will be happy to find the best option for your needs.

Aquatics: Pools are allowed to open in phase 3 with significant revisions and limited capacity. We are reviewing detailed operations guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health to determine the logistics of applying those guidelines to our six aquatic centers and 17 splash pads. Those plans include staffing models, supplies, budgets, and timelines, along with collaborations with our regional partners, so decisions can be made. We anticipate sharing an update in about two weeks. 

Parks, trails, and natural areas: These spaces remain accessible, while practicing social distancing. New with phase 2: amenities like basketball courts, tennis courts, disc golf courses and similar are accessible for recreation with less than 5 people from outside your household. Please do not attend park and natural areas if you experience symptoms or have been in contact with someone experiencing symptoms; our staff will do the same.

Please be aware, some turf areas may become slightly brown due to a reduced watering schedule. Care is being taken to ensure that our beloved trees receive enough water. We are on a reduced mowing schedule, so grass may be longer and some weeds will appear. Noxious weeds will be managed according to state and local regulations on a case-by-case basis. Trash pick-up continues, along with vandalism repair and asset protection.

Moore-Turner Heritage Garden, Japanese Garden, Gaiser Conservatory, and the Woodland Center will remain closed for the foreseeable future. We will are conducting deferred maintenance and redirecting staff to other areas within our park system to assist with core service maintenance.

Play structures: Playgrounds remain closed under order of the Spokane Regional Health District. Caution tape and closure signs will continue to be handled by staff who are assigned specific routes each day. If you see caution tape torn down, we will be along as soon as possible to put it back up, but it may not be the same day.

Restrooms: Many restrooms in parks are closed. We unfortunately do not have the resources to disinfect multiple times per day the restrooms across our nearly 90 City parks. We have portable restrooms in some of our most popular destinations, and are exploring adding more. We apologize, and ask that as much as possible, to please “go before you go.” We’re doing our best, with about 1/3 of our normal seasonal staff, to care for park properties in ways that ensure visitor safety, garbage removal, and asset protection. View the video.  

Riverfront-hosted events and activities:  Riverfront events and activities scheduled to occur before or on June 30 are either postponed or cancelled. This includes programming like Story Time at the Carrousel, Riverfront Moves yoga classes, and Monday FunDay, which are anticipated during phase 3 with revisions. We will re-evaluate events and activities scheduled for July on June 15.

Indoor and outdoor event space rentals: We will unfortunately not be able to honor reservations between now and June 30. We will be happy to tentatively hold dates for events scheduled to occur in July and beyond. This includes Riverfront Park, Corbin Art Center, and Finch Arboretum’s Woodland Center.

Staff is working with event organizers to re-schedule June events and create contingency plans. We will re-evaluate July events on June 15. If you would like to postpone your event or reservation, please call 311 (outside the city, dial 509.755.2489), and we’ll help you coordinate.

Dog parks: Spokane County and Spokane City made the decision jointly to temporarily close dog parks, in consultation with our regional animal partners and the Washington Recreation and Park Association. The decision is based on the challenges of social distancing inside off-leash dog parks. Keeping dogs on leash in large open areas helps prevent the need for humans to get close to one another, and close to dogs that aren’t part of their household. We will continue to reassess this temporary closure.

Community & Senior Centers: Centers operate independently. Please contact the centers directly for questions. Contact information for Senior and Community Centers.

We anticipate additional changes as the situation evolves, and will communicate with you when those occur.

Next steps

We will continue to follow the recommendations of local and state public health experts in collaboration with the City of Spokane leadership. As the situation and information evolves, we will continue to communicate changes.

We hope you’re enjoying your parks, as a way to care for your mind and body. Perhaps you’re finding new ones to explore -- the Park Finder on our website is a great place to start. And while you’re home, explore our Vimeo page for recreation ideas you can do from your own backyard or kitchen table.

Thank you for your patience and understanding; we are all continuing to adapt and will care for our beautiful properties with a limited staff, focused on core services of safety, asset protection, and sanitation.

Together, we are #InlandStrong.