Open letter to Michael Shiosaki and the Bellevue Parks Department to re-open Bellevue playgrounds

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To Michael Shiosaki and whoever else this may concern,

It’s been over 200 days that Bellevue Playgrounds have been closed. In the past several weeks, Kirkland and Redmond have both opened their playgrounds that are owned and maintained by the city. It’s time for Bellevue to do the same.

The CDC has issued guidance for using playgrounds safely. “Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. In many areas, people can visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air, and stay active.

It’s time to start enabling parents to make the right decisions for their children and not have the city act as a nanny-state, micromanaging parental decisions. Most kids need to get outside and play. They’re already forced out of schools and churches. For families with compromised immunity or elderly family members, they might choose to continue to avoid playgrounds. If parents think it’s best for their children to play on a playground, let them make that decision for their family.  

And we know that COVID-19 is a very mild disease for the young: 

And we know that children are far less likely to contribute to community transmission. Child-to-child and child-to-adult transmission is far less likely than adult-to-child transmission.

Finally, behavior has drastically changed since parks originally closed. Most people wear masks. People keep their distance. There is less of a need to close down areas – people are complying with recommendations. Even kids are wearing masks. 

With Redmond and Kirkland playgrounds open, I don’t see any rationale to keep Bellevue playgrounds closed. Please give this email every possible consideration.

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