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Mendocino Coast beaches, parks reopen, but outside visitors warned to stay away

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The coastal beaches of Mendocino County and related state parks were reopened to local use Wednesday, just in time for warm, sunny weather ahead and the Memorial Day weekend.

Twenty-two sites operated by California State Parks along the rugged coastline, as well as a few inland properties, will be reopened, park officials said.

But restrictions remain in place aimed at curbing transmission of coronavirus.

“If we see recreation that looks like it’s unsafe, people aren’t social distancing, or there’s a potential health hazard, we’ll address it,” said Loren Rex, chief ranger for the Sonoma- Mendocino Coast District.

A new order issued Wednesday reopens parking lots and most restrooms, though not those associated with campgrounds, and allows for active recreation at state parks in Mendocino County, park officials said. But parking is limited, and visitors are encouraged to walk or cycle to nearby parks, when possible.

State parks on the Sonoma Coast remain closed, meanwhile.

Residents of neighboring counties and states are not to travel to Mendocino County parks, officials said.

“There is a 50-mile limit on travel (under the Mendocino County Health Order), and we really are trying to stick to the spirit of the order,” Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District Superintendent Terry Bertels said.

Visitors also should leave coolers, umbrellas, shades, tents, barbecues and chairs behind, as the intent of the order is not to have people set up for the day but to remain active and moving during their visits.

Campgrounds and picnic areas remain closed.

Visitors also are to maintain at least a 6-foot physical distance between themselves and others who are not in their household and should be prepared to supply their own soap and sanitizers, and to pack out their own trash.

“We’re pulling all the cones and barricades and letting people know the beaches and parks are open to use responsibly,” Rex said.

You can reach Staff Writer Mary Callahan at 707-521-5249 or mary.callahan@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @MaryCallahanB.

For more stories about the coronavirus, go here.

Track cases in Sonoma County, across California, the United States and around the world here.

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