San Mateo County Parks closed all 23 parks at 6 p.m. today until further notice in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A "surge" in visitors last weekend amid the shelter-in-place order prompted the decision. "During the past 11 days, park staff observed many visitors ignoring the Shelter In Place Order by driving to parks, congregating in groups and not maintaining six-feet of social distancing," the County said in a statement. “The decision to close parks is not easy, especially now when people are looking for outdoor experiences, but the safety of San Mateo County residents must always be a priority," San Mateo County Parks Director Nicholas Calderon said. Entrance gates are locked and "Park Closed" signs are posted at park and trail entrances, and park staff will be patrolling the parks.

San Mateo County parks to remain open amid stay-home order

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Twenty of the 23 parks managed by San Mateo County will remain open during the regional stay-home order that begins tonight at 11:59 p.m.

Memorial Park and Pescadero Creek Park remain closed as CalFire continues to assess the impacts of the CZU Lightning Fire. Sam McDonald Park reopened Wednesday, Nov. 25.  Tunitas Creek Beach is also closed, and at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, tidepools, beach access and the parking lot are closed but the trails and restroom are open for use. The full list of open and closed parks is here.

Along with regional trails, playgrounds and single-household-use picnic tables will also remain open at parks, which open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We recognize the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors and connecting with nature, especially during this extraordinary period in our history and our lives,” said Nicholas Calderon, San Mateo County Parks Director.

Calderon urged park visitors to bring face coverings, maintain 6 feet of distance from others and to wear the mask when that’s not possible.

“Because there are more visitors than usual on trails in all parks, we encourage you to plan your visit and have an alternate location if you discover a full parking lot when you arrive,” Calderon said. “We also suggest that you to visit parks early in the day or a few hours before closing at 5 p.m.— these are great times to see deer, lizards, birds and other wildlife.”

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