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Massachusetts State Parks COVID - 19 Update

In an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Baker-Polito Administration is urging the public to stay home as much as possible to avoid person-to-person contact. However, should individuals and their families need to get outside for healthy, outdoor recreational activities, including walking, hiking, jogging, and bike riding, Massachusetts state parks and other natural resources managed by DCR remain open and accessible to the public.

How to Visit State Parks during Covid-19 Safely and Responsibly

Additionally, state parks are public areas, and while the agency continues to make efforts to sanitize high-touch locations, these surfaces are only as clean as the last person who has come in contact with it. Please take appropriate steps to protect your health and the health of others by following the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s (DPH) guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Visitors to state parks should follow these additional guidelines:

  • Minimize outdoor recreational time to limit potential exposure to COVID-19;
  • Stay within solitary or small groups, and avoid gatherings of ten or more people;
  • Practice social distancing of at least six feet between individuals;
  • Administer healthy personal hygiene, such as handwashing for at least 20 seconds;
  • Participate in only non-contact recreational activities;
  • Leave a park or area should large gatherings begin to build; and,
  • Stay home if ill, over 70, and/or part of a vulnerable population. 

The agency appreciates your support and understanding as we all continue to work together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Below are specific details regarding the closure of agency managed facilities and other information:

Table of Contents

Traveling to Massachusetts

Effective August 1, 2020, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts – including Massachusetts residents returning home – are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers from lower-risk states arriving in Massachusetts are exempt from this directive and need not self-quarantine for 14 days.

The current list of COVID-19 lower-risk states includes: 

  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • Washington

In addition, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are exempt from the directive to self-quarantine for 14 days if traveling to Massachusetts for work purposes.  All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Campgrounds

IMPORTANT: Effective Saturday, August 1, 2020, Massachusetts has implemented a COVID-19 Travel Order. All travelers entering the state, including residents returning home, must fill out a “Massachusetts Travel Form” and quarantine for 14 days unless producing a negative COVID-19 test result from no more than 72 hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts. Those travelers coming from Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Washington are exempt from the Travel Order. For the Travel Form and more information, please visit www.mass.gov/MAtraveler or text “MATraveler” to 888-777

The Department of Conservation and Recreation closed all campgrounds until Wednesday, July 1, 2020. Reservations will be accepted beginning on Monday, June 22, 2020. For more information regarding DCR campgrounds, please visit Camping at Massachusetts State Parks

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to campgrounds, please visit
WORKPLACE SAFETY and REOPENING STANDARDS FOR CAMPGROUNDS - Phase II  https://www.mass.gov/doc/workplace-safety-and-reopening-standards-for-campgrounds-phase-ii/download.

Parking Areas

Department of Conservation and Recreation managed coastal beach parking areas are open to the public.

Playgrounds and Fitness Areas

As of Monday, June 15, 2020, Department of Conservation and Recreation playgrounds and fitness areas are open for the public to use.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to playgrounds and fitness areas, please visit
Safety Standards for Playgrounds and Outdoor Fitness Areas (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-playgrounds-spray-decks-and-outdoor-fitness-areas/download)

Swimming Pools and Spray Decks

DCR-managed swimming pools and spray decks are closed for the season. Please visit the Massachusetts DCR Pools webpage for additional information.

Coastal and Inland Beaches

Department of Conservation and Recreation managed coastal and inland beaches are open to the public; however, lifeguard services have ended for the season. Visitors are reminded that state park properties, including coastal beach reservations and inland parks, may have reduced parking areas.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to coastal and inland beaches, please visit
Safety Standards for Coastal and Inland
Beaches – Phase II  (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-coastal-and-inland-beaches-phase-ii/download)

Public Restrooms and Trash/Recycling

As of Saturday, May 23, 2020, many Department of Conservation and Recreation managed public restrooms have reopened. Additionally, the agency has reduced the amount of available trash/recycling receptacles at state park properties throughout the Commonwealth. Visitors are asked to practice DCR’s “carry in, carry out” waste policy where trash/recycling receptacles aren’t available and to do their part to help protect our shared natural resources by leaving no trace and taking any waste with them.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to public restrooms and trash/recycling, please visit
Safety Standards for Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Education Programs – Phase II (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-programs-phase-ii/download).

 

Athletic Fields and Courts

All Department of Conservation and Recreation owned outdoor athletic fields, courts, and other playing surfaces (tennis, baseball, football, soccer, skate parks, etc.) can be utilized by the public during Phase II for general recreation. User activities should be consistent with social distancing and group size guidelines.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to athletic fields and courts, please visit
Safety Standards for Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Education Programs – Phase II (https://www.mass.gov/doc/safety-standards-for-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-programs-phase-ii/download).

Parkway Access

The Department of Conservation and Recreation has opened segments of parkways in the Greater Boston Metro Area to expand pedestrian and cyclist access. The measure, which closes the segments to vehicular traffic, will reduce close contact of park users, as well as large concentrations of people on adjacent sidewalks and paths. 

The segments include:

  • Riverbend Park (Memorial Drive) in Cambridge on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00am – 7:00pm.

Boat Ramps and Launches

Inland Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches

  • Inland boat ramps and canoe launches within state parks, forests, wildlife management areas, boating access facilities and other state-owned properties managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remain open to all users, except where the access has already been closed due to parking restrictions or other restrictions.

Coastal Boat Ramps and Canoe Launches

  • For recreational use, coastal boat ramps managed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts remain open to all users. All other coastal boat ramps currently managed by municipalities remain open to all users for recreational use subject to the discretion of the city or town.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to recreational boating, please visit
Boating & Various Other Marine and Inland Waterway Related Activities – Phase II  (https://www.mass.gov/doc/boating-various-other-marine-and-inland-waterway-related-activities-phase-ii/download).

 

Golf Courses

The Leo J. Martin Golf Course and Ski Area (Weston, MA) and Ponkapoag Golf Club (Canton, MA) are open to the public. All tee times must be made in advance and over the phone.

For guidance issued by the Commonwealth relative to golf courses, please visit
Safety Standards and Checklist: Golf Facilities (https://www.mass.gov/info-details/safety-standards-and-checklist-golf-facilities#quick-reference-documents-).

DCR COVID-19 Ice Rink Standard Operating Procedures

Revised September 11, 2020

  • All DCR rinks will be operated in accordance with the Workplace Safety and Reopening Standards for Businesses and Other Entities Providing Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities, Phase III, Step 1, Expansion of Activity Number 1. The Permittee shall review the currently applicable “Covid-19 Guidelines” and affirms that Permittee will adhere to said guidelines, including any amendments or updates. It is the responsibility of the Permittee to ensure compliance with any updates to the current guidelines. Permittee acknowledges that failure to follow the guidelines (including as amended) may lead to termination of this Permit.
  • DCR managed ice rinks will be available for rent and open for public skating in accordance with the 2020 - 2021 rink schedule. Peak rental hours are Monday through Friday 3pm to 11pm and Saturday and Sunday 7am to 10pm.
  • Rink Permittee’s shall develop and implement modifications to play in accordance with Section C. Minimum Mandatory Standards for Modification to Play. Full ice sheets at rinks will be considered “large surfaces” under the current guidance. Rink permittees will be allowed to split the ice sheet up into two halves and allow up to 25 participants on each side for a total of 50 participants on a full sheet, provided that there is adequate spacing between participants and the minimum mandatory modifications and all other requirements of the guidance are met. Permittees, including respective coaches, players, and chaperones, that fail to comply with the guidelines will receive a written warning detailing the infraction and required remedy. Permittees that fail to remedy infractions or fail to comply with the guidelines will have their ice time revoked for the remainder of the 2020-2021 season.
  • Based on the Phase III, Step 1 guidelines, DCR has identified rink capacity at 120 persons. The capacity of warming rooms will be 25 persons. The capacity number will be the maximum number of players, coaches, referees, and facility/activity workers, as well as chaperones and or spectators, if social distancing allows for chaperones or spectators, allowed in a rink at one time. Unless authorized under the guidelines, all persons entering the rink will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times.
  • Ice will be rented in 50-minute intervals with a minimum period of 30 minutes between groups to allow for ice sheet maintenance and cleaning and disinfecting of heavy transit areas and high- touch surfaces as required by the guidelines.
  • Rinks with a full and ½ sheet, Bajko and Murphy, will only be allowed to open or rent 1 sheet at a time.
  • Restrooms facilities at rinks will be open and maintained in accordance with Centers for Disease Control guidance and the EEA COVID-19 Outdoor Recreation Facility Restroom Cleaning Best Practices.
  • Team rooms, locker rooms and showers will remain closed in Phase III. Rinks will not be open to the general public. Access to the rink will be reserved for public skating, ice rental agreement permittees and their respective players, coaches and referees as well as chaperones and or spectators for players under 21 years of age.
  • Rink concessions and vendors shall follow the Safety Standards for Restaurants if they intend to operate for the 2020-2021 season. Skate rental concessions will be required to follow the guidelines, specifically Section B. Hygiene.
  • Public skating will be limited to 25 skaters on the ice sheet at one time. Public skating will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Once at capacity, new skaters will be allowed on the ice as skaters leave the ice. Skaters must maintain social distancing of 6 feet unless they are from the same household or cohort.

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