Despite statewide restrictions, many flock to Alki Beach during coronavirus pandemic

SEATTLE - Hundreds of people flocked to Alki Beach on the first day of spring, despite state warnings and restrictions that aim to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Officials with the state Department of Health COVID-19 Response Team say outdoor activities are recommended, as long as you follow the guidelines.

State and federal officials are recommending avoidance of social gatherings, recommending people keep a safe distance of about six feet from each other, and recommend frequent hand washing.

On Alki Beach Thursday, social distancing seemed to not be a thought.

“It’s packed, and even people are saying, ‘what about the social distancing,’ People are out here living their life. You can’t let it stop you,” said Terrell Wiggins.

Wiggins was one of hundreds walking up and down Alki Beach. There were people everywhere, riding bikes, skateboarding, and even playing on the beach.

But it wasn’t just people taking social distancing lightly. Several businesses allowed customers to eat “take out” food on their property. One restaurant even served people alcohol while they ordered “take out” food despite statewide restrictions.

None of these businesses wanted to speak on camera.

There is also a statewide closure of entertainment, leisure and non-essential services. The state provided a list of specific types of businesses impacted, but they say it’s not an all-encompassing list.

Bike Rentals are not included on the list. Wheel Fun Rentals in Alki is still operating.

“We’re doing what we can out here, and working with it, and trying to be an outlet for people,” said Jake Webster.

Webster works at Wheel Fun Rentals. He says they are taking precautions by wiping down every bike rental before customers get on, and when they return. He said they are also wiping down people's IDs and credit cards.

Jasmine Carabat walked along Alki with her family. She says it’s surprising to see so many people are disregarding social distancing. However, she says she can understand why people are doing it.

“Even with social distancing, there is an extent to that. We can't just fully isolate ourselves”

The state’s closure of restaurants, bars, and recreational facilities is in effect until March 31st.