MARIN COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Marin County has issued an order for the immediate closure of all Marin parks in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The Public Health Division of Marin County Department of Health and Human Services issued an order on March 22 to close all parks, from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area down to the smallest town parks.

The park closure order comes one day after Bay Area residents packed parks and beaches, putting vulnerable residents at risk because of unsafe social distancing.

“They are experiencing typical summer crowds or even bigger,” Sgt. Brenton Schneider of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office said. “This is creating unsafe conditions for employees working at businesses that are staying open because they are deemed essential. Those workers are being overwhelmed and they are fearful about all the close contact that they’re witnessing.”

The closure will affect town, city and county parks, open space preserves, state parks such as Mount Tamalpais State Park, Marin Municipal Water District lands and federal lands such as Point Reyes National Seashore and Muir Woods National Monument.

Visitors can still use paved pathways, such as the popular Mill Valley-Sausalito Multiuse Pathway along Richardson Bay and the Corte Madera Pathway along Corte Madera Creek, as long as people are following guidelines on social distancing.

Marin’s shelter-in-place order went into effect on March 16 along with six other Bay Area counties. Gov. Gavin Newsom followed with a statewide stay-at-home directive on March 18.

“Congregating in parks and the lack of social distancing is of great concern. We are appealing to our friends in the media to encourage people to honor the shelter-in-place order as much as possible during this critical and unprecedented emergency, Dr. Lisa Santora, the County’s Deputy Public Health Officer, said. “It would be best if residents and visitors enjoy the weather and natural beauty in their own yards and neighborhoods.”

The closure affects more than 18,000 acres of Marin County Parks.

Marin County Public Health reminds Marin residents and visitors to:

  • Stay local. Many local neighborhoods are walkable or have trails nearby that are easily accessed by foot or bicycle. Avoid driving  whenever possible, and stay close to home when enjoying fresh air and outdoor activity. 
  • Continue to practice social distancing. It’s tempting to meet with friends for a day at the beach, but to prevent the spread of COVID-19 everyone needs to be at least 6 feet away from others when outside the household. 

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