National Park Service limits access to Point Reyes after visitor influx during COVID-19 shelter-in-place order

Bay City News
Sunday, March 22, 2020
Coronavirus: NPS limits access to Point Reyes after visitor influx amid shelter-in-place order
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Coronavirus: NPS limits access to Point Reyes after visitor influx amid shelter-in-place order

MARIN, Calif. -- Officials with the National Park Service and Point Reyes National Seashore announced late Saturday night that most areas of the Marin County national preserve would be closed starting Sunday for a little more than two weeks.

The closures come after visitors inundated the parks during a statewide shelter-in-place order due to the global novel coronavirus pandemic.

The park said on its website that in addition to its campgrounds and visitors centers being closed through April 7, gates to Limantour Access Road, Mt. Vision Road, Drakes Beach and Drake Estero will be shuttered to the public.

Limited access swill be allowed at Palomarin Trailhead beyond Commonweal entrance, Pierce Point Road, along with the Lighthouse and Chimney Rock parking. Visitors are asked to pack out what they bring in.

On Saturday, Marin County's coastal communities saw an unusually large influx of visitors from around the Bay Area. A photo published to the Marin County Sheriff's Office Twitter account Saturday showed a line of cars attempting to access an area near Dillon's Beach.

The sheriff's office said the visitors created traffic congestion, which interferes with first responders' ability to handle emergencies. In addition, state and county park parking lots and bathrooms are closed due to the shelter in place order, adding to further congestion and creating problems with sanitation.

Local residents we're upset and put up signs asking people to go home.

"Congregating in these popular areas makes the shelter-in-place order less effective and continues to put all of our counties at risk of COVID-19 spread," said Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin's deputy public health officer, in a news release. "Marin is usually a place for recreation, but now is not the time."

Marin County reminded people that shelter in place is not a vacation and shared a graphic reminding what it means to social distance.

ABC7 News contributed to this report.

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