The kids are stir-crazy, and you could all use some fresh air. But with the city shutting down events and limiting group gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak, is it OK to head into the great outdoors for a hike or a camping trip? Across the state, parks remain open for business and are welcoming visitors — as long as they take the right precautions.
"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is closely monitoring the situation and is in coordination with the Texas Department of State Health Services and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to ensure the safety of our park visitors and employees," TPWD said in a statement. "Texas State Parks remain open for business during spring break and are taking precautions, including ensuring that hand soap and hand sanitizer is available in all public buildings, and staff are conducting frequent cleaning of all hard surfaces in efforts to help prevent the potential spread of the virus. TPWD will continue stay informed with the latest recommendations for the public and adjust accordingly as necessary."
Find the latest updates on COVID-19 at statesman.com.
In addition to Texas State Parks, most national parks, including Big Bend, City of Austin parks and LCRA parks are also open. Both Texas State Parks and LCRA are waiving cancellation fees through March.
Rodney Franklin, director of Texas State Parks, emailed out these tips for families planning a visit.
Print your day-use and camping permits ahead of time. This cuts down on time spent in the park office and interacting with others while checking in.
Pack extra soap or hand sanitizer. Park restrooms have soap or hand sanitizer, but because of increased use at remote locations, these items may not always be plentiful.
If you have been sick in the last two weeks, stay home. Anyone who is sick or experiencing potential symptoms of COVID-19 should check with a doctor and stay away from public areas, including parks.
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As this is an ever-changing situation, be sure to check websites for the latest updates before heading out: