Texas begins reopening state parks with restrictions

Texas begins reopening state parks with restrictions
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Texas will start reopening its state parks on Monday for day-use only in a move toward reopening the state.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced Monday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed that parks could begin opening if visitors wear face coverings and keep a six-foot distance from others outside their group. Gatherings of groups with more than five people are prohibited. 

Carter Smith, the executive director of the department, said in a release that staff has been cleaning and sanitizing park facilities, working on maintenance projects and “ensuring requisite safety protocols are in place."

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“As we navigate through these challenging times, it is essential that outdoor experiences and opportunities are available for Texas families,” Smith said. “We have been diligently working with our partners in local communities across the state to help safeguard our state park visitors, volunteers and staff when they return to Texas State Parks.”

Some state parks will not reopen Monday because of limited staffing, weather conditions and construction projects. Residents can visit the Texas State Parks Alert Map to check the status of individual parks, the press release noted. 

Overnight camping is still banned and will be permitted at a later date, according to the release. 

The state encourages visitors to follow local, state and federal guidelines before traveling to the park. Visitors are required to purchase and print day-use permits before arriving at the parks. 

Group-use facilities, visitor and nature centers, headquarters and other enclosed spaces will remain closed. 

Texas’s announcement comes as several states are itching to reopen and restart the economy.