Sonoma County's health officer issued an amended order that went into effect Wednesday to ease restrictions on the use of county parks and coastal areas during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
After the closure of all parks in March, health officer Dr. Sundari Mase ordered a "soft opening" of some parks last month, opening them for people to walk or bike to a park form their homes but keeping parking lots closed except to disabled residents.
The new order issued Tuesday allows park agencies to reopen some parking lots at inland parks and allows the use of some sports facilities like tennis courts and disc golf, but other facilities like playgrounds, picnic areas and dog parks remain closed.
Parking areas along the Sonoma Coast will remain closed to prevent crowding, but coastal residents will be able to walk or bike to parks and beaches there before 11 a.m. or after 5 p.m. Those areas will be closed during the six hours in between to discourage overcrowding.
"I feel comfortable reopening some parking lots and recreation areas as long as we remain diligent about hygiene, social distancing and face coverings," Mase said in a news release, adding that county residents "must all continue to do our part and protect the progress we've made" in limiting the spread of the virus.