California State Parks has announced that state campsites in regions impacted by California’s Regional Stay at Home Order triggered by Intensive Care Unit (ICU) capacity will temporarily close. Day use outdoor areas of park units currently open to the public will remain accessible, including trails and beaches. Members of the same household are encouraged to maintain physical and mental health by going to a park to hike, walk, bike ride, off-highway riding or boating, provided that they recreate responsibly by abiding to COVID-19 guidelines.
“Yesterday, California took an important step to address the alarming pace of COVID-19 case rates that are threatening to overwhelm the health care delivery system,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “While the new Regional Stay at Home Order is asking Californians to stay home as much as possible and for campground sites in impacted regions to close, the state also recognizes that that outdoor activity is critical for mental health and physical health. We welcome you to recreate in the outdoors provided that you stay local, plan ahead to find out what is open, wear a face covering, practice physical distancing and avoid gatherings with people outside the immediate household.”
Here is a current map of areas impacted by the order (spoiler alert: it’s most of California):
Below are some guidelines State Parks has implemented to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
Stay Local – Stay close to home to slow the spread of COVID-19. Do not travel if you or someone in your household is sick.
Plan Ahead – The COVID-19 pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of the park unit you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
- Stay Safer at 6 feet – No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. Visitors are being asked to leave if there are too many people to allow for the required physical distance.
- Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Off-highway Vehicle Recreation:Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
- Keep Clean – Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. in some cases, restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
- Stay Covered – The state requires you wear a face covering when you cannot maintain physical distancing of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.
The Regional Stay at Home Order will be implemented regionally once there is less than 15 percent ICU capacity remaining in one or more of the following designated regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. State campground sites within these regions will be temporarily closed in accordance with the new order.
Due to the critical need to stop the COVID-19 surge and prevent overwhelming regional ICU capacity, the public is advised that the closure of campground sites may be made with little advance notice. Affected reservation holders will be contacted by the state’s reservation system — ReserveCalifornia — via email and provided with a refund. Reservation cancellations and refunds will be automatic. As such, visitors do not need to take any action. Reservation holders can call ReserveCalifornia’s Customer Service line at 1-800-444-7275. Hours of operation: 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT.
Northern California’s Outdoor Digital Newsmagazine