Families fill beaches, attempt social distancing during COVID-19 crisis

The beach at Dash Point State Park in Federal Way was busier than normal for a Thursday in mid-March.

The coronavirus is keeping kids from school, so instead they’re splashing in the water and building sandcastles on the shore.

"We thought it’d be a little more empty out here and less people, so it’s kind of a little more than we thought, but it’s still good. It’s nice to get the kids out of the house instead of sitting in there playing video games every day,” said Donnie Becker.

Although it was a bit busy, for the most part, people gave each other space and practiced social distancing to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

The highly contagious virus can live in the air for hours, which is why some people skipped the beach and headed to the trails.

“They’re kids. They don’t realize that everyday actions, like touching your face or saying hey to somebody, that that can be dangerous right now, so I’d just rather keep them away from it so they don’t really have to worry about it,” said Allyson Becker.

The parking lot at Tiger Mountain stayed busy, and so did Seattle’s Sculpture Park and Alki Beach.

Owens Beach in Tacoma also drew a decent crowd.

“You have to get outside and get some fresh air, and it’s the first day of spring, so I was like, ‘Yay!’” said Julie Davis.

People sat along the Sound and watched the waves or went for a walk.

Many said being outdoors helps bring them peace of mind.

"It’s so nice. I’m so thankful it’s sunny this week. If it wasn’t sunny, I think that’d make everything a lot more depressing,” said Margaret Lewellen.

People said they’re taking precautions to stay safe.

“I’ve washed my hands so many times that they’re cracking, just doing whatever I can,” said Brenda McBrayer.

The Thurston County Health Department said fresh air and regular exercise is important for physical and mental health.

Contact sports or activities where objects are shared, such as tossing a frisbee, can spread the virus. Playgrounds and outdoor surfaces are also hard to disinfect.

Whether indoors or outdoors, the Health Department recommends social distancing, hand-washing, not touching your face and staying home if you’re sick.