Submitted by the City of Bellingham, written by Janice Keller
Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood announced today he has approved limited exceptions to an events and facility use cancelation order enacted in April to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. New limited exceptions allow uses of certain park facilities for youth activities authorized under state Department of Health guidelines.
These limited uses will help provide childcare options for families. Mayor Fleetwood said the City’s focus is continuing efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while resuming vital business functions to support our economy.
“Economic recovery is a priority,” Mayor Fleetwood said. “This is one of several ways we are helping community members get back to work. Allowing limited outdoor activities in parks this summer will provide much-needed childcare options and help fulfill outdoor recreation goals as well.” He said the amended order also makes the City’s plans consistent with Bellingham School District’s plans to open reservable athletic facilities to sports during Phase 3.
The previous order, issued April 24, 2020, canceled most events and uses that require any type of City approval or permit and disallowed most uses of City facilities and reservable park spaces, effective through August 30.
A new, amended order allows permits and reservations for some outdoor childcare, day camps and outdoor youth activities during Phase 2, and allows some outdoor uses of athletic fields for all ages during Phase 3.
All applicants for use of parks facilities under the amended order are required to submit health and safety plans outlining how the proposed uses adhere to published state regulations for childcare and day camps and sports team practices. The state guidance outlines required use of facial coverings, social distancing, group size limitations and other necessary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. To apply, use the Safe Start Special Event application? available on the City website.
Most City-permitted events and parks facility uses remain canceled through August 30. City officials encourage people to spread out and #RecreateResponsibly on City parks and trails.
Featured photo by Melissa Bianconi