WRIGHT COUNTY – The Wright County Parks and Recreation Department has released a procedures statement as it pertains the Minnesota’s face covering mandate and county parks.
Executive Order 20-81 is very specific in terms of indoor settings, but county parks by design allow for social distancing because of their size, and all efforts are being made to keep equipment and facilities sanitized for the protection of park guests. The statement, in its entirety, is below.
On Wednesday, July 22, Governor Walz issued Executive Order 20-81 requiring the use of face coverings across the state. Once the news was announced, we read through the order to see what impacts it would have on the operations of our parks, trails, and open spaces. Before going any further, as a department we would like to remind you that social distancing is the greatest way to see our way through this pandemic and we encourage everyone who is visiting the parks, beaches, trails, campgrounds, and open spaces to maintain social distancing to the best of your abilities. Now back to face coverings.
EO 20-81 specifically addresses indoor businesses and public settings. There are very few instances in which you will engage with our parks and recreation department in an indoor setting and not be able to maintain social distancing. One of the few places that you could encounter a problem with social distancing with others is at the public restrooms that are open and operational in our parks. We ask that you do your best to limit the number of people in the communal restrooms to two people at a time, unless you live in the same household. If this is done, there is no issue with maintaining social distancing. If this is not done, the probability of breaking the social distancing guidelines is high. If you come across a time where social distancing cannot be maintained, you will need to wear a face covering. A face covering “must cover the nose and mouth completely, and can include a paper or disposable face mask, a cloth face mask, a scarf, a bandanna, a neck gaiter, or a religious face covering.”
There are many instances in which a face covering may be removed. For those of you wondering, yes we know this seems like common sense, swimming is one of those. So again, if you can maintain social distancing at the public beaches you will not be required to wear a face covering. The executive order does strongly encourage the use of face coverings in outdoor settings when social distancing is impossible or difficult to maintain. Other instances that a face covering may be removed are participation in organized sports, practices, performances, or other physical activities where the level of exertion makes it difficult to wear a face covering.
As a reminder we can only move forward and get past the current state of things with the help of everyone. We are doing our best to provide clean, safe, and fun environments for everyone to enjoy. Our bathrooms are being cleaned twice a day and the cleaning times are being posted. We are wiping down the high touch surfaces as much as possible, and keeping our parks and trails clear of trash and debris as much as possible. You can help us by practicing the “Leave No Trace Principles” even if you are just visiting for the day. This means, make sure trash is placed in trash receptacles, take everything you brought with you to the park home from the park, and if you see or know of anyone that is damaging the park or any facilities to report it to us or the sheriff’s department. Also, the drinking fountains are not operational so come prepared with plenty of water.
Lastly, do your best to keep 6 feet of distance between you and other visitors and adhere to all other MDH and CDC guidelines in addition to the Outdoor Recreation Guidelines. The phrase of the year is “know before you go.” Also, this month is Parks & Recreation month. We would like to say thank you to everyone that takes part in the services we offer here at Wright County Parks & Recreation and we hope that you will continue to find the time to “explore the opportunities.