A boy plays on a hill with a playground in the background.

Cartwheel to your heart's content.

Here’s a lifeline for parents struggling to cope with cooped-up children: All play areas in Seattle parks will reopen today. While this welcome development may allow kids to burn off some energy and make new friends, don’t expect playtime to mirror pre-Covid revelry.

The Seattle Parks and Recreation department, which closed playgrounds in March, has released a list of guidelines for both parents and kids to follow as they navigate slides and swing sets. Most notably, no more than five children can use play equipment at a time, all children over the age of two must wear a mask, and everyone should remain six feet apart. A few other pointers:

  • Don’t bring food or drink on play equipment (to make sure masks are worn at all times).
  • Visit playgrounds on days and times when they’re likely to be less busy.
  • Cap your visit at 30 minutes to give others a chance to play.

Seattle Parks lists these guidelines in a news release, as well as a cautious note that play areas will not be regularly sanitized or cleaned. It also suggests stopping by some of Seattle’s less popular parks. May as well use this strange moment to discover an alternative to all those long lines when normalcy returns.