California State Parks today announced it is temporarily closing vehicle access to 59 additional state parks and beaches to avoid dangerous visitation surges and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). This brings the total number of state-operated parks and beaches closed to vehicle access to 98. A list of closures can be found online at www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
Last weekend, many state parks and beaches received record visitation numbers, which made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/ physical distancing practices. As a result, State Parks is working closely with local county and public health officials and assessing park operations on a daily basis to provide access to healthy outdoor options while maintaining required social/ physical distancing.
Everyone has the responsibility to “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks.” Avoiding groups of people and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others is critical to slowing the COVID-19 pandemic.
As such, please adhere to the following guidance:
Stay home if you are sick.
Stay close to home when you get outdoors. This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach.
Venture out only with people in your immediate household.
Walk around the neighborhood and enjoy neighborhood parks.
Always maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors. If you cannot maintain physical distancing, leave the park.
Do not congregate in parks.
State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing at all state park units, and if the safety measures implemented thus far are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities. State Park Peace Officers, in cooperation with allied law enforcement entities, will continue patrolling all state park units and enforcing all regulations.
To date, the department has implemented various safety measures such as temporarily closing all campgrounds, museums and visitor centers in the State Parks System; cancelling all events; and closing vehicular traffic to parks experiencing high visitation. As of today, all non-campground outdoor areas of parks, including trails and beaches, remain open. Day-use restrooms also remain open, and visitors are advised to bring soap for handwashing and to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers when water is not available. California continues to issue guidance on preparing and protecting Californians from COVID-19. State Parks is monitoring the situation closely and is following guidance provided by the Governor’s Office via the California Department of Public Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Protecting visitors and all who take care of state parks from the exposure to the pandemic disease is a top priority for the State of California.
State Parks has developed a one-stop resource center––www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve––to find park safety and closure information, and messaging and graphics from the “Flatten the COVID-19 Curve at Parks” social media awareness campaign. Please check this website regularly, as it will be updated with new information as it becomes available.