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“Do get out if you need to, but don’t plan on spending a day in the park,” said Mayor Jenny Durkan at a conference Thursday.

As part of the Emerald City’s push to return to a sense of normalcy, Washington state and city officials have loosened restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

And as part of Gov. Jay Inslee‘s plan to edge towards the “new normal,” parks and recreational facilities across the city are reopening. 

While this is great news for active Seattleites such as myself, the best course of action is to take local guidelines seriously. 

I and many others hope to avoid a “second wave” of infections that might see restrictions retightened. 

Pandemic-inspired restrictions have been particularly limiting on the business sector. Boeing’s Puget Sound facility-one of the mainstays of the industry along the Pacific Northwest-was shuttered for weeks after the death of an employee due to the virus. 

As a community, it’s time to pull together and show the world what we are made of. United, we can beat this. 

Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Over the last few months, I’ve found exercise to be an excellent means to combat the sense of isolation and loneliness that has come about living under veritable house arrest. 

Myself and several friends are particularly excited to get out to Gas Works Park for a cycle over the upcoming weekend, but we won’t be sticking around for a barbecue. 

Though protests against the stay-at-home measures have garnered considerable support across the United States, it’s a good time to remember the impact this outbreak has had (and will continue to have over the coming months) on the healthcare system, allied health professional, and front-line essential services employees. 

You might well know someone who works in Seattle’s health sector. I count several family members working at Virginia Mason Hospital and Kindred (in First Hill), and I like to think that each of us is doing our best to ease the burden on these folks. 

Integrity Care and Staffing is one such company. Providing home health care services, they have assisted Seattle in the city’s fight against the disease. Let’s pull together and think of the people putting their lives at risk. 

Do the right thing, and listen to official guidelines. Though it’s undoubtedly great news that parks are back in business, let’s use them for exercise and not gatherings. Enjoy them responsibly, and remember to stay six feet apart at all times.