Coronavirus impact: Some East Bay parks reopening; others offering limited access to trails during shelter-in-place

LAFAYETTE, Calif. (KGO) -- For so many people, sheltering at home, the ability to get out and exercise, enjoy the fresh air is key. That's why seeing "Park Closed" signs at the Lafayette Reservoir is especially disturbing.

"It says welcome and I know they want to welcome us and yet I'm kept outside," said Karen Bonnar, as she walked up to the locked gate. "I want to go to the reservoir and get outside."

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The East Bay Municipal Utility District has closed its Lafayette Reservoir and the San Pablo Recreation Area after this week's shelter in place order. The fear is those two facilities may become an attractive nuisance at a time when people are supposed to be keeping their distance.
"We were finding that with the schools closed and people working from home, we saw a huge uptick in the number of people at those locations," explained Andrea Pook with EBMUD, "and we could not meet our safe social distancing guidelines."

"I would error on the side of caution," said Ellen Warner, as she walked by the reservoir gates. " It may be more than just keeping yourself safe. I mean think about the rest of your loved ones."

But, EBMUD is keeping most of its 90 miles of trails and 29,000 acres of open space open and available to the public, seeking an outdoor alternative, perhaps a place to reconnect with nature.
"You kind of have to focus on what you're seeing and what is right in front of you and it really does clear your head I think," said Berkeley David Sheretz, as he hiked along the Skyline Trail near Tilden in the East Bay hills.

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Earlier this week, the East Bay Regional Parks District closed all of its parks, but now the district is re-opening at least some of them--like Oakland's Robert Sibley--to allow access to trails and open space, but not buildings or bathrooms.

For road cyclists though, it's not necessarily about what's open or closed.

"You need decompress in these tough times and for me this is my sanctuary," said Kirk Phillipou as he rode along Lafayette's Mt. Diablo Boulevard.

For more information on which trails and parks are open, refer to https://www.ebparks.org/parks/ and https://www.ebmud.com/recreation/east-bay/east-bay-trails/.

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