Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Coronavirus Update: July 16, 2020

Parks & Recreation: 311 or 509.755.2489. Media: Fianna, 435.1866

Friday, July 17, 2020 at 2:23 p.m.

We hope this update finds you healthy. 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.

We are pleased to announce we’re able to offer select Recreation programs under phase 2 guidelines. More details are below.

Many of our Recreation and Riverfront programs require phase 3 and 4 status to become operational. We will share updates as information evolves. Parks and open spaces remain accessible, and we hope you’re enjoying Spokane’s beautiful public lands.


Current impacts to Parks & Recreation

Recreation programs: New: We are excited to offer a selection of Recreation programs under phase 2 guidelines. Take a look at our digital Mid-Summer Activity Guide for camps and classes. We’re able to offer youth camps at Merkel Sports Complex and Corbin Art Center, and select Outdoor and Therapeutic Recreation classes.

Safety is our top priority. All programs will follow the Washington State Department of Health guidelines for recreation camps and classes. The Activity Guide outlines safety protocols and frequently asked questions. We hope to see you soon!

This video highlights the precautions we’re taking:

If virtual programming is more your speed, virtual Yoga classes are available for continuing and new yoga students to practice yoga in the comfort of home, but with the guidance and motivation of being in this virtual class. Classes include Basic Yoga, Gentle Stretch and Chair Yoga (modified poses for ease and comfort). Register here.

Virtual Skyhawks Sports Academy programs are also available. They’ve created safe, fun, and skill-based virtual programs, from soccer and basketball to PhysEd, Chess, STEM Sports, and even Esports! Register here.

Recreation programs not included in the Mid-Summer Activity Guide scheduled to occur on or before July 31 have been either cancelled or postponed, and a credit placed on your account. We will assess August programs on July 25. 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.

Parks, trails, dog parks, and natural areas: These spaces remain accessible, while practicing social distancing. New: The water input at TJ Meenach will be opened up beginning this weekend, thanks to the Spokane River Forum and Riverkeeper volunteers! Our small maintenance team is stretched so thin, we haven’t had the resources to open and maintain this access point. The Spokane River Forum and Riverkeeper have agreed to adopt TJ for the summer, doing routine cleanups and removing trash from the area (they already did one clean up this year – thank you!). We are grateful for their partnership. Please follow these water safety tips from the Spokane Fire Department:

Amenities like playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts (nets are being placed as staff time allows), 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 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 with about 1/3 our typical staffing.

Moore-Turner Heritage Garden, Japanese Garden, Gaiser Conservatory, High Bridge park drive, 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. Library construction is underway at Liberty Park and Shadle Park.

City Aquatic Centers & Splash Pads: City of Spokane pools and splash pads are allowed to operate in phase 3 with significant revisions and limited capacity. Sessions 1 - 4 of swim lessons have been cancelled, and Aqua Ducks swim team has also been cancelled for the 2020 season. We will share more updates on future swim lessons and aquatics operations as they become known. 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.

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 have recently added a few more with ongoing work to continue adding. 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 July 31 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 August on July 25.

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. Restrooms inside the SkyRide building are also open. 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. The Visit Spokane visitor center is open Friday – Sunday, noon – 4 P.M.

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

Field rentals: The Governor provided updated guidelines that allow outdoor youth and adult recreational sports to hold modified practices! Our field rentals resumed 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

Indoor and outdoor event space rentals: In general, we aren’t taking reservations for large gatherings. However, the Governor’s office has issued special guidance for certain types of events. Please contact us for more information around the approval process, at 311.

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.

Thank you

Thank you for your ongoing patience. We hope you’re continuing to enjoy your parks – use our Park Finder to explore Spokane’s nearly 90 parks and natural areas! We hope you and your families are well.