The spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now hit some of New York’s most-popular recreation hubs.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced over the weekend that all state-operated campgrounds, cabins, and cottages will be closed to overnight visitation through at least Thursday, April 30.
Come April 30, officials will reassess the situation and determine if the closures should be extended further, pending the spread of the virus. All reservations for the 2020 season have also been suspended until further notice. Those who already have made reservations will receive a full refund, the DEC noted.
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“We ask for your patience as refunds are processed. We are assessing campground status on a daily basis. If you’ve made a reservation for the season beginning May 1, and we determine your campground is safe to open, your reservation will be honored,” the DEC said in a statement announcing the closures. “However, visitors who wish to cancel an existing reservation may do so and receive a full refund. Thank you for your patience as we work to protect the safety of our visitors and staff.”
Though most parks, campgrounds, and playgrounds are closed in New York, the DEC is encouraging New Yorkers to “recreate locally, practice physical distancing, and use common sense to protect themselves and others.”
“New York State is home to some of the most spectacular public lands and parks in the world,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “In uncertain times, these special places can serve as an oasis from stress, fear, and anxiety. We encourage people to get outside-close to home-and follow these basic guidelines to help ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.”
According to the DEC, getting outdoors to walk, jog, hike, ride a bicycle, fish, or visit a park or state lands is a healthy way to stay active, spend time with immediate household family members, and reduce stress and anxiety when practicing social distancing.
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid added, "New Yorkers are turning to our parks for exercise, stress relief, and a healthy nature break in these difficult times. To keep these places safe and healthy for everyone, we need to adjust the ways we enjoy our parks. Keep visits short and local, avoid crowds, and practice physical social distancing."
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