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How to the enjoy the outdoors safely in Spokane while social distancing

Spokane Parks and Recreation says more people have been visiting parks due to warmer weather and the stay-at-home order.

SPOKANE, Wash. — People are flocking to Spokane's parks during Washington state's stay-at-home order aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. 

Leaders with Spokane Parks and Recreation say they have seen an increase in park usage, partially because of the onset of spring weather and due to the stay-at-home order.

Even though recreating in city parks is allowed while the order is in place, it is under the stipulation that people are social distancing and only recreating with people from their households.

This goes for any outdoor recreation, including running and walking. 

KREM 2's Nicole Hernandez measured the sidewalk at one park and it is just under five feet wide. That means only one person can be on that sidewalk to maintain proper social distancing.

Some wider paths, such as the Centennial Trail, are about 12 feet wide. That means only two people can safely stay six feet apart. 

Residents need to keep that in mind when deciding where to recreate.

"We ask that citizens have a plan 'b' and 'c.' If you enter a location and it does seem very busy that you maybe just go to the plan 'b,'" said Garrett Jones, director of Spokane Parks and Recreation.

Spokane has over 4,000 acres of park land citywide. Residents can find a map of every park online.

Spokane County parks are also open during the stay-at-home order and a list is available on the county website.

There are also small green signs set up at every Spokane park outlining the do's and don'ts of outdoor recreation during the stay at home order. They explain what park amenities are opened and which are closed.

State and local leaders have stressed that people should avoid unnecessary driving and enjoy the outdoors near their homes. 

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State-run parks and lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources are closed, along with recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide. 

Camping and other overnight accommodations on state-managed recreation lands will remain closed through at least April 30.

The Bureau of Land Management has also closed some public lands to help limit the spread of COVID-19, including the Yakima River, Liberty Recreation Site and Chopaka Lake Campground.

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