Parks opened a little bit more
Restrictions on outdoor recreation due to COVID-19 were eased by Sonoma County health officials May 12, allowing vehicle traffic into parking lots and opening up some sports facilities.
An earlier health order at the end of April only allowed people to walk or cycle into parks.
The new order still keeps Sonoma Coast parking areas closed to prevent crowding at beaches, but allows residents to walk or bike during limited hours.
The May 12 health order applies to all parks, trails and recreation areas in Sonoma County, including state parks such as Sugarloaf State Park in Kenwood, and Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen. However, as of May 13, managers of those two sprawling outdoor spaces had not yet opened to vehicle parking because they were waiting for the final go-ahead from California State Park officials.(EDITOR'S NOTE: They're now open for vehicles!)
“I feel comfortable reopening some parking lots and recreation as long as we remain diligent about hygiene, social distancing and face coverings,” said county health director Dr. Sundari Mase. “Sonoma County residents have made an extraordinary effort to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Still, we all must continue to do our part and protect the progress we've made.”
Mase's order encourages people to use parks that are close to home.
Use of “high-touch” equipment in parks is prohibited. This list includes playgrounds, dog parks, outdoor gym equipment, pools, picnic areas, and drinking fountains.
While at the parks, people must practice social distancing and wear face coverings if they come within six feet of other visitors. Park users cannot engage in sports or other activities that involve the use of shared equipment with those who are not part of their household.
Mase warned that in the event of crowding, widespread non-compliance with the health order, or other activities presenting a risk of spreading COVID-19, parks may be closed again.
Parks under the purview of Sonoma County Regional Parks have varying degrees of being open.
Hood Mountain Regional Park's parking lot is open, as is the lot at Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen. However, the dog park is still closed. Both parks have bathrooms open.
Kenwood Plaza Park is now open, as is Shaw Park in Kenwood, though lawn use at Shaw is limited to “individual or household use exercise.”
Spring Lake Regional Park is now open to vehicle parking, though picnicking and barbecuing is not allowed, and the outside gym equipment is closed. Bathrooms are partially open.
Editor & Publisher