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Coronavirus Update: Saturday Visitor Surge Forces Closure Of Vehicle Access To All State Parks

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Citing a wave of visitors over the last 24 hours, state officials announced Sunday they were shutting down vehicle access to all of California's 280 state parks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, officials said there was another weekend rush to parks "that made it impossible for the public to implement appropriate social/ physical distancing practices."

They reminded state residents that -- "every person has a role to play in slowing down the spread of COVID-19. Protecting individuals, families and communities comes down to common sense."

As such, the public was reminded to adhere to the following guidance:

  • Stay close to home when you get outdoors. This is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach.
  • Venture out only with people in your immediate household.
  • Walk around the neighborhood and enjoy neighborhood parks.
  • Always maintain a physical distance of 6 feet or more when recreating in the outdoors. If you cannot maintain physical distancing, leave the park.
  • Do not congregate in parks.

State park officials said the latest action was in addition to temporarily closing all campgrounds, museums and visitor centers in the parks system; cancelling all events and closing vehicular traffic at certain parks and beaches and fully closing others.

"State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing at all state park units, and if the safety measures implemented thus far are not sufficient to protect public health, additional measures may be taken to fully close parks, including trails, bathrooms and other amenities," officials warned.

Mountain biker Andrew Last, who has ridden on Mount Diablo in the East Bay for over 20 years, said many people weren't following social distancing recommendations last weekend.

"I've never seen so many people on the mountain before," Last said. "I have plenty of choice words for those people, but I probably shouldn't use them in public."

Other bikers are asking people they know to keep their distance from each other.

"We're going out of our way to talk to people, especially cyclists, to keep the distance. We don't want to lose this great opportunity," said Alan Kalin, president of the Mount Diablo Cyclists Association.

KPIX 5's Katie Nielsen contributed to this report.

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