Texas state parks reopening for day use only

State parks will reopen Monday as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to slowly reopen Texas amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor closed all Texas parks and historic sites in early April in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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On Friday, Abbott announced parks would be among the first things to reopen. He also loosened some restrictions on medical procedures and said stores will be allowed to operate “retail to go” beginning on Friday.

"Because of the efforts by everyone to slow the spread, we're now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us," Abbott said. “We will prepare a phase-in strategy to reopen Texas in a safe way.”

For now, visitors will only be allowed in the parks during the day. Overnight camping will return at a later date.

Visitors must have a reservation through the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s website.

They will be required to wear face coverings and follow social distancing guidelines. And, groups will be limited to five people.

“As we navigate through these challenging times, it is essential that outdoor experiences and opportunities are available for Texas families. 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,” said Carter Smith, the TPWD executive director. “During the temporary closure, our state parks team has been cleaning and sanitizing park facilities, addressing routine maintenance projects, and ensuring requisite safety protocols are in place to ensure visitors have the best possible experience.”

The governor is expected to announce more openings on April 27 based on the level of COVID-19 cases and containment in the state.

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