The County announced today, Wednesday, Apr. 22, that County parks, rivers, lakes, and recreation areas, including parking lots, will reopen this weekend.
“Like other local governments, we are carefully following the rules mandated by the state to help limit the spread of coronavirus, and we are closely following the governor’s timeline for relaxing some of our social distancing requirements,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “However, there are policies we as a County can control, and so we’re pleased to make this announcement.”
County residents have been diligent in adhering to the safe-at-home mandates and we’re all aware of how hard it’s been. Recreating outside not only provides a pleasurable change of pace, but it also offers notable health benefits.
Still, with this cautious re-opening, it is extremely important for County residents to act responsibly while taking advantage of this opportunity. Being able to enjoy parks and lakes does not lessen the need to maintain a safe distance from your fellow citizens and to practice other measures designed to keep us safe and healthy.
Hagman emphasized that residents need to continue social distancing, avoid gathering in groups, and to maintain the use of face masks. While hiking, biking, boating, and other non-contact outdoor activities such as horseback riding, tennis and golf will be permitted, the use of picnic tables and playgrounds, along with participation in team sports or other similar gatherings, continue to be prohibited.
Put another way, members of one household engaging in open space is allowable, but two households means you have a gathering, which is not allowed. Camping and outdoor parties are also not allowed. Club houses and restaurants must continue to limit their service to drive-through, curbside pickup, or delivery. In most cases, please be aware that restroom facilities will not yet be open or available.
“We have faith in our residents that they will respect the safe distancing guidelines and demonstrate that keeping passive outdoor recreation open is possible as our state moves to ease restrictions,” said Chairman Hagman. “However, if there is abuse of this new allowance, the Board will have no choice but to re-close our outdoor destinations.”
Finally, please note that many facilities will need to re-open gradually in order to properly staff and adequately maintain safe practices. Please check in advance with any facility you would like to visit to confirm operational hours and procedures. We will be sharing more details on the re-opening of passive outdoor recreation in future updates.