The City has decided to temporarily close all Seattle libraries and community centers, effective today (March 13) at 6pm.
However, the Seattle Parks and Recreation preschool programs and hygiene facilities will remain open.
The announcement came on Thursday, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to rise in Seattle. With an estimated 1,100 active infections in the region, the City is taking as many preventative measures as possible. All programming, rentals, events, pools, environmental learning centers, and City-run recreation centers will close until at least April 13.
“We did not take this decision lightly. We know that our libraries and community centers serve as important neighborhood hubs and provide essential services to our residents,” Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a statement about the closures. “But we also know that given the high-volume of people who pass through our facilities each day, it would be extremely difficult to implement the mandatory public health guidance as it relates to social distancing.”
To serve the unsheltered, the City will continue the shower program at Delridge, Green Lake, Meadowbrook, Miller, and Rainier community centers.
Preschools will stay open for now, following the latest public health guidance. “Affordable and accessible childcare and preschool is critical for so many residents, especially as Seattle Public Schools close, which is why SPR is also looking to create alternate programs for before and after school care,” the City’s announcement reads.
All library programs are cancelled, but digital services will remain available. SPL’s “Ask Us” reference question platform will still be accessible, but may be a bit delayed as library staff get set up to work from home. Loan periods have been extended for books and other media; patrons don’t need to return items until SPL is back in full operation.
For up-to-date Public Health – Seattle & King County guidance, visit kingcounty.gov/covid.