I want to picnic in the germ circle.
I want to picnic in the germ circle. Christopher Frizzelle

Cal Anderson Park looks like it got paid a visit from one of those UFOs in the videos the Pentagon released last month. There are circles mowed in the grass throughout the park. It's like performance art. Or a cry for help from a lawnmower.

In reality, they're just another way to keep people socially distant, according to Rachel Schulkin, a spokesperson with Seattle Parks and Recreation. Personally, I'm gutted that this isn't some community-wide Signs reenactment but I suppose I'll get over it.

"Similar to New York City parks and San Francisco parks we are exploring the use of small circles distanced 6 feet apart to help folks enjoy the park and keep social distance," Schulkin wrote in an email. "At this time we are just exploring this method, and are still asking folks to Keep It Moving when at the park (running, walking, and biking)."

Literally germ circles, eh? New York's Domino Park was dotted with painted circles in mid-May to contend with crowds. San Francisco adopted the idea last weekend with painted social distance circles throughout Dolores Park to keep "crowds organized during Memorial Day weekend" which people adopted with "little to no instruction," according to a report from ABC7.

Personally, I love that Seattle has just said "fuck it" and is mowing circles straight into the grass. Who needs paint? But, I do take issue with the incongruous messaging here.

The circles are for people to sit and laze in, yet Seattleites are still getting ushered along in parks and prodded to "Keep It Moving," as Schulkin mentioned in her statement. In San Francisco and New York, these painted circles are a means to allow stationary recreationing chilling at a responsible distance. If these COVID circles are here to stay, does that mean "Keep It Moving" is on its way out?

"We are still developing what the guidelines will look like for Seattle’s parks in Phase 2," according to Schulkin.

Mown circles are way more pleasant than painted circles.
Mown circles are way more pleasant than painted circles. CF