Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Coronavirus Update: June 12, 2020

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

Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:55 p.m.

June 12, 2020

We hope this update finds everyone healthy and well. As changes continue to unfold in the Governor’s Safe Start Washington plan, we’d like to share an update on impacts to Parks & Recreation in the City of Spokane.

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.

However, our parks remain accessible with more activities available in small groups, and our playgrounds and dog parks have re-opened! We are also renting field space again for youth and adult sports practices under the Governor’s guidelines. More details below.


Current impacts to Parks & Recreation

New updates to share! Play structures: The Spokane Regional Health District’s Health Officer re-opened playgrounds! Parks staff are moving around our nearly 90 parks to remove closure tape from play structures. You may still see some tape up in places we haven’t reached yet with our small team. Please keep in mind that we don’t routinely sanitize play equipment, picnic tables, and similar amenities, so continue to use CDC precautions to avoid the spread of germs. We hope you continue to enjoy park spaces!

New updates to share! Dog parks: Dog parks in the City are re-opened! We are working to remove the eco blocks placed at High Bridge Dog Park, and add trash cans back. Please continue to follow CDC guidelines to slow the spread of germs.

New updates to share! Field rentals: The Governor provided updated guidelines that allow outdoor youth and adult recreational sports to hold modified practices! Our field rentals will resume Monday, June 15 for modified practices only (games and scrimmages aren’t allowed until Phase 3). Players are limited to groups of five in separate parts of the field, separated by a buffer zone and with social distancing between all players. Parents and household members must not congregate on the sidelines during practice. To inquire about reserving fields, please email us at

Recreation programs: In phase 3, we anticipate offering modified camps and classes in alignment with the Governor’s guidelines. However, for now, most* Recreation programs scheduled to occur on or before June 30 have been either cancelled or postponed. (*Some programs run by third-party contractors may be able to operate in late June if we move into phase 3. Many of our contractors have faster start-up times than we do. If Spokane moves into phase 3 prior to June 30, we will reach out again with an update.) New: We have regrettably decided to cancel our Little Spokane River Shuttle this summer, due to the difficulty of social distancing. We will assess other summer recreation programs on June 30.

Participants scheduled for activities from now through June 30 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. New: session 1 of swim lessons (scheduled for June 15 – 25) have been cancelled and Aqua Ducks swim team is postponed. We will share more updates on future swim lessons and aquatics operations as they become known; we hope to have an update to share about the 2020 aquatic season in the next week or two. We have created an operational plan that aligns with the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 protocols for aquatics, include staffing models, supplies, budgets, and timelines. The plan is being reviewed by City leadership and the Spokane Regional Health District, so decisions can be made.

Golf: 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. New: People from outside the same household may ride in a cart together.

Parks, trails, and natural areas: These spaces remain accessible, while practicing social distancing. 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.

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 attractions: The Numerica SkyRide is open 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 are seven days a week, 10 A.M. – 6 P.M. Purchase tickets online and learn more. 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.

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 30.

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.

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 hope you’re continuing to enjoy your parks – use our Park Finder to explore Spokane’s nearly 90 parks and natural areas! And consider our Vimeo page for recreation ideas you can do from your own backyard or kitchen table.

Thank you for your ongoing patience. We hope you and your families are well as we soon head into summer.