California State Parks announced Sept. 15 the reopening of some campgrounds at Morro Bay State Park, Hearst San Simeon State Park and Morro Strand State Beach with new COVID-19 guidelines. Current reservation holders can begin checking in after 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, and walk-ups will not be permitted. Each campsite will allow up to eight people from the same immediate household and two vehicles maximum. Group campsites will remain closed to avoid large gatherings.
In March, all campgrounds across the State Park System were temporarily closed to support state and local efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Based on current data reported by the California Department of Public Health, State Parks is working with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access at park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved.
The reopening of some campgrounds does not mean things are going back to normal. Governor Gavin Newsom continues to ask Californians to stay close to home, maintain the proper physical distance, wear a face covering and avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household.
Park system operations have been modified to provide an outdoor experience that reduces the risk of exposure to COVID-19, and modifications at each park may vary. Consequently, the public is advised to plan ahead — check the webpage of their local outdoor destination before leaving home to find out if it is open, what new guidelines are in effect and if parking is available.
Below are some additional new COVID-19 guidelines for Morro Bay and Hearst Simeon state parks, and Morro Strand State Beach:
- Face Coverings: Currently, the San Luis Obispo County health orders require face coverings when campers cannot maintain a minimum six-foot distance from other campers and those not from immediate household.
- Guest Passes: Guest passes or courtesy passes will not be issued to non-registered campers or friends.
- Share the Road: Drivers, cyclists and hikers are urged to be cautious and to share the road. When Morro Bay Campground opens to campers, Lower State Park Road will also open to vehicular traffic for visitors and local residents.
- Parking: Day-use areas and parking lots remain open to the public, but overnight parking restrictions will be strictly enforced.
- Keep Clean: Be prepared. Not all restrooms are open to the public. Bring soap/sanitizer and pack out all trash. Camping: If you are camping in an RV, please use the restrooms in your unit. This will help reduce the use of the shared restrooms at campgrounds.
State Parks will continue to monitor visitation and physical distancing across the State Park System. If unsafe conditions develop, parks and beaches may need to decrease access in certain areas.
For camping reservations, contact ReserveCalifornia (www.reservecalifornia.com) or call (800) 444-7275. Hours of operation: 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. PDT.
For the most up-to-date information for state park units within San Luis Obispo County, please follow the individual park webpages and or social media accounts.
For detailed information on how to recreate responsibly during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit www.parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.