City to close off playground equipment, other measures announced to address COVID-19 fallout

A notice outside Marina Beach Park announces the closure of playground equipment. (Photo by Janice Carr)

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson announced changes Tuesday aimed at addressing the impacts of COVID-19 on local businesses and residents, including one that he calls a “tough decision” — closing the play equipment in local parks.

The rationale, Nelson said, is related to having “lots of children touching the same equipment,” which “leaves us all more vulnerable,” he said. “We recognize families are using our parks more than usual and we want to encourage that.”

You can find a list of the city’s parks here.

Several Washington cities have made the same decision to close off play equipment, while others will be making these decisions Tuesday, the mayor said.

“We are doing our very best to manage our community’s needs for support and safety during these fast-changing times,” Nelson said.

The mayor also announced several changes aimed at helping residents and business owners who are already feeling the financial impact of governmental restrictions aimed at slowing the virus’ spread — from bans in-restaurant dining, to the closures of movie theaters, gyms and hair salons, to prohibitions on large gatherings.

“Today, I am instituting and proposing measures intended to lessen the blow of these impacts,” Nelson said. “These local measures are immediate, tangible, and will be in addition to the increasing package of assistance measures being offered by state and federal agencies.”

Through the end of April, Nelson said, the city’s finance department will forego shut-offs for those Edmonds water and sewer customers struggling to pay their bills. The city will also waive corresponding late fees. Contact the city to arrange a payment plan by calling 425-771-0241. In addition, the city clerk’s office will extend business license renewal deadlines for at least two months.

The measures related to utility payments and business-license renewals are in effect immediately.

Nelson also said he is proposing a measure to the city council aimed at directly assisting the business community: Revising the city’s parking regulations to allow for designation of selected existing on-street parking spaces as 15-minute “grab and go” spots that will accommodate quick pick-up of orders from local restaurants and cafés.

In addition, the mayor said, he will be exploring — with staff and county and state officials — “other potential measures to provide assistance to our local business owners, laid-off workers and residents.”

In a related COVID-19 matter, the city reminds residents that Sno-911, the public safety dispatch, is reporting an uptick in non-emergency calls.  remind residents that 911 is for life-safety emergencies only, The non-emergency number is 425-407-3999.

For continuing information about COVID-19-related developments in Edmonds, visit the city’s website at www.edmondswa.gov/coronavirus.html.

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