coronavirus

Cook County Forest Preserves Closes Some Public Areas Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Officials said most trails will remain open but access to other public locations within will close

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Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with other city officials announced new efforts in forest preserves Sunday morning in an effort to flatten the curve on coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois.

Officials announced a variety of measures to limit crowded conditions in areas that remain open, while closing specific areas that do not allow for proper social distancing strategies during the pandemic.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, along with other city officials announced new tightening efforts in forest preserves Sunday morning in an effort to flatten the curve on coronavirus cases in the state of Illinois.

Most areas of the preserves, including most trails, lakes and open fields, remain open.

During the pandemic, Forest Preserves officials have closed public buildings, as well as all public restrooms.

Officials also said that they will continue to monitor sites where park visitors are not following social distancing guidelines.

"If and when we see that any specific location is no longer tenable due to the behavior of visitors, we will add to the sites that are shut down," Preckwinkle said. "At sites where people are not compliant, we can and will close down."

As of Friday, March 27, officials posted on their official site that "due to concerns associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Forest Preserves of Cook County is cancelling all public eventsvolunteer activities and permitted events and closing some locations (including all public restrooms, nature centers, campgrounds, nature play areas, permit offices and the Swallow Cliff Stairs) through May 11."

According to the site, official location closures include the following:

“We are trying to keep open as many of our trails, lakes, woods and open fields as possible to serve as a respite from everything we all are facing—to provide places to listen to a birdsong, or have a bike ride, or look for wildflowers. To do so, we need your help by following social distancing and other public health guidelines,” said General Superintendent Arnold Randall.

Officials continue to urge that everyone continue to practice social distancing, at least six feet apart from individuals.

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