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Seattle Parks reopens playgrounds, fitness equipment, but kids will have to wait their turn


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Good news for those with stir-crazy kids: Seattle Parks and Recreation is reopening 150 outdoor play areas to the public with new safety guidelines Tuesday.

The play areas closed in March when the novel coronavirus first hit the region as they were considered “high touch” areas that could easily spread the virus. But with new research showing that the virus is unlikely to spread through surfaces, the city’s parks have gotten the green light to reopen with new rules in place to limit transmission.


To keep swings, climbers and slides safe, play equipment will be limited to five or fewer children at any one time. In accordance with the statewide mask mandate, all children above the age of two will be required to wear a mask although there are some exceptions.



To maintain social distancing and occupancy requirements, the department is asking parents to visit parks at less busy times and only stay for 30 minutes or less to give others the opportunity to play. Green Lake, Seward, Magnuson, Discovery, Lincoln, Gas Works, Carkeek and Jefferson Park are some of the more popular play areas in the city and may be busier during weekends.


“We are all in this together, so kindly remind others of the guidelines and find a different activity if the play area gets too crowded,” Seattle Parks wrote in its blog. “We cannot allow play areas to be places where COVID-19 is spread, so we need folks to use these spaces safely.”

Cal Anderson’s playground will remain closed as the park has not officially reopened in the wake of summer protests.


Those who have canceled their gym membership in the past months are also in luck as outdoor fitness equipment at all Seattle parks reopened Tuesday. The equipment follows similar guidelines to play areas, including limiting use to five or fewer people at any one time and requiring masks.

The department also emphasized that play areas and fitness equipment are not regularly sanitized or cleaned and all users should wash or sanitize hands before and

Gym members demand refunds after Fitness World rebrands, reopens some Steve Nash clubs

Frustrated fitness buffs are taking their gym to the mat, arguing B.C.-based Fitness World owes them a refund after their contracts were reassigned to new locations.

“They didn’t let us choose to stay with them,” said Fitness World member Cortez D’Alessandro, 20. “They just told us what’s happening.”

In March, the company — formerly known as Steve Nash Fitness World — shuttered all 24 of its locations, and terminated its staff, citing difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Insolvency proceedings followed until June when Chris Smith, the CEO of both the new and old companies, worked with a group of investors to purchase the hard-hit fitness brand. Its new name is a throwback to the Fitness World chain of gyms that the Steve Nash organization purchased in 2009 to increase its reach. 

By July, members learned what it meant for their workouts. In an email, the company told patrons that their membership would be transferred over to Fitness World. The company’s footprint, however, had been reduced, with only 15 of the original 24 locations open. Further complicating matters, the company said it would cancel contracts, but only if clients visited a club in person.

“The biggest reason I was there, [was] because it was close by,” said D’Alessandro, whose Lougheed Highway location was among those permanently closed.

In a statement, Fitness World apologized to members, and said it has been doing its best to address concerns and “create a clear process” to meet their needs in a timely manner. The company also says members can call their preferred club to cancel with a manager, an option that wasn’t presented in previous member updates.

Fight for refunds

Whether members qualify for refunds, though, remains unclear.

Charlotte D’Alessandro, 50, has paid for Cortez’s gym membership since high school. She says she’s spent over a month trying to get her money back from Fitness World, including two charges from the company on the same day.

Steve Nash Sports Club signage can still be seen at Park Royal in North Vancouver. The business entered insolvency proceedings in April 2020 and has since been rebranded as Fitness World. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

“I’m not paying for something I didn’t agree to pay for,” said the mother, who says she visited three Fitness World locations, only to be told staff couldn’t rectify the situation.

“I don’t think we should be automatically new members of this new business,” she said “It’s very frustrating.”

Online outcry

That sense of frustration has sparked online outcry as well. A Change.org petition outlining members issues with Fitness World has captured more than 400 signatures.

Kiu Fazlali started a Change.org petition after Fitness World moved him to a cheaper location and failed to change his membership fees. (Christian Amundson/CBC)

“There’s no customer service,” said petition founder and former Fitness World member Kiu Fazlali, 20.

“They like to enforce their contracts but they don’t like to work with customers.”

Fazlali says his contract was moved from the company’s premium Park Royal location to the cheaper

Santa Fe dentist’s office reopens after COVID-19 closure | Coronavirus

A Santa Fe dental practice reopened Monday following a nearly two-week closure due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the doctor and one of his assistants.

Dentist Jared French said he saw one patient Sept. 14, a Monday, and then felt an itch in his throat and went home.

He took a test that afternoon to determine if he had contracted COVID-19, French said, and after it came back positive two days later, he closed his practice.

A patient, an assistant and a dental hygienist who were at the office Sept. 16 before the closure all tested negative.

“It’s a dicey situation. You have to open back up, but you want to protect people,” French said. “We were able to prevent transmission. In the end, that’s what really matters.”

Under guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health care workers, French was not required to wait 14 days before returning to work. The CDC’s symptom-based guidelines say it’s safe to return to work if at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours have passed since the patient last experienced fever and other symptoms have improved.

The doctor’s wife, Lara French, said she believes she might have become infected with COVID-19 while visiting family in Utah earlier this month and then infected her husband while she was quarantining after her return.

“It’s hard to know,” Lara French said. “I was only in close contact with a few family members there, but I think that’s where I got it.”

Maddy Hayden, a spokeswoman with the New Mexico Environment Department, said the agency performed a rapid response at the dental office, which involves ensuring employers are following COVID-19 safety guidelines. Monitors determined a further investigation by the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau was not warranted, Hayden said.

During the roughly 48 hours between when the time French left the office with a symptom of the illness and the time he closed the practice, a dental hygienist — who did not work at the office Sept. 14 — saw patients at the practice, the dentist said.

French said he felt comfortable leaving the practice open while he awaited his test result because people who had close contact with him were isolating and the facility had been following health, safety and cleaning guidelines.

“We followed policies and tried to be reasonable, and that’s the decision we made,” French said. “I think the proof is in the pudding, as there was no transmission.”

At least one patient thought French should have closed the practice sooner or at least alerted patients about the possible infection.

“If someone had told me he was sick and went to get tested, I would have changed my appointment,” said Harriet Schreiner, who visited the office the morning of Sept. 16, a Wednesday.

She believes French put her and others in harm’s way by not disclosing he had left the office two days prior with COVID-19 symptoms.

“Nobody said anything to me

Santa Fe dentist’s office reopens after COVID-19 closure | Coronavirus

A Santa Fe dental practice reopened Monday following a nearly two-week closure due to confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the doctor and one of his assistants.

Dentist Jared French said he saw one patient Sept. 14, a Monday, and then felt an itch in his throat and went home.

He took a test that afternoon to determine if he had contracted COVID-19, French said, and after it came back positive two days later, he closed his practice.

A patient, an assistant and a dental hygienist who were at the office Sept. 16 before the closure all tested negative.

“It’s a dicey situation. You have to open back up, but you want to protect people,” French said. “We were able to prevent transmission. In the end, that’s what really matters.”

Under guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for health care workers, French was not required to wait 14 days before returning to work. The CDC’s symptom-based guidelines say it’s safe to return to work if at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours have passed since the patient last experienced fever and other symptoms have improved.

The doctor’s wife, Lara French, said she believes she might have become infected with COVID-19 while visiting family in Utah earlier this month and then infected her husband while she was quarantining after her return.

“It’s hard to know,” Lara French said. “I was only in close contact with a few family members there, but I think that’s where I got it.”

Maddy Hayden, a spokeswoman with the New Mexico Environment Department, said the agency performed a rapid response at the dental office, which involves ensuring employers are following COVID-19 safety guidelines. Monitors determined a further investigation by the Occupational Health and Safety Bureau was not warranted, Hayden said.

During the roughly 48 hours between when the time French left the office with a symptom of the illness and the time he closed the practice, a dental hygienist — who did not work at the office Sept. 14 — saw patients at the practice, the dentist said.

French said he felt comfortable leaving the practice open while he awaited his test result because people who had close contact with him were isolating and the facility had been following health, safety and cleaning guidelines.

“We followed policies and tried to be reasonable, and that’s the decision we made,” French said. “I think the proof is in the pudding, as there was no transmission.”

At least one patient thought French should have closed the practice sooner or at least alerted patients about the possible infection.

“If someone had told me he was sick and went to get tested, I would have changed my appointment,” said Harriet Schreiner, who visited the office the morning of Sept. 16, a Wednesday.

She believes French put her and others in harm’s way by not disclosing he had left the office two days prior with COVID-19 symptoms.

“Nobody said anything to me