Friday afternoon, as I drive by the skateboard park at Civic Field, there are several dozen youths and a few adults (parents?) congregated in small groups while some of the youths skateboard. Absolutely no social distancing. Sunday, at Bloedel Donovan park, about a dozen young men are engaged in two volleyball games. Those not involved sit around and chat. No social distancing. The Bellingham Parks Department has reported that crews are circulating to clean equipment in the parks. But tell me what happens ten minutes after a crew does the cleaning? Parents arrive with the kids and then another family arrives. Kids play on the now presumably contaminated equipment, a vector for transmission, before everyone goes home to continue the spread. All it takes is one child, a silent carrier.
The Herald reports that the city will be posting signs to “encourage” the following:
”▪ Not using parks or trails if you are feeling ill
▪ Washing your hands regularly
▪ Sharing the trail and warning other trail-users when you’re near
▪ Observing the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guideline of 6 feet at all times
▪ Keeping pets on a leash to minimize contact
The signs also say that restrooms and other frequently touched areas, such as the playground areas, will be sanitized regularly.”
We all know about signs. Like the ones all over town that tell you to keep your dog on a leash. How has that been working for you? Been to Lake Padden lately? What about the signs on the sidewalk downtown that indicate bikes are prohibited? That is working well, too.
Ferndale authorities shut down their parks. Are they in possession of secret information not available to Bellingham? I don’t think so. COVID-19 transmission information is readily available. Luckily, this week brings rain which may attenuate the danger posed by using the parks. Let’s use this opportunity to shut down this timebomb. Why take any chances at all?
This is a life or death situation. We must act like it is.