Los Angeles County trails and golf courses will reopen Saturday, after parks officials revised the opening date announced earlier Wednesday by the public health department.
Noting that the pandemic is a “fluid crisis,” the county Department of Parks and Recreation said in a news release that it decided to modify the opening date as it “continues to assess the situation with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.”
Health officials had said parks and golf courses would be among the first places to open Friday as the county enters its first phase of easing coronavirus restrictions.
Other venues reopening under the revised stay-home order include outdoor recreation facilities, libraries, museums and cultural centers, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said during a Wednesday news briefing.
Local, community and regional parks, botanic gardens — except Descanso Gardens — will be open Sunday for walking, jogging and leisure time outdoors for families on Mother’s Day, park officials said.
But people returning to trails and other public spaces will still have to abide by protocols for infection control, Ferrer said.
“You must adhere to physical distancing, and you must use cloth face coverings when you’re on the trails,” she said.
Additionally, people can only visit with other members of their household, and no gathering will be allowed in parking lots.
At golf courses, clubhouses and pro shops will stay closed, while restaurants and concession stands will only be able to offer takeout.
No more than four people can play in a group, and tee times must be at least 10 minutes apart. Golf carts will be limited to single riders, and walking is encouraged. Club rentals will not be available, and golfers can’t touch the flag stick.
Driving ranges are open, but practice putting and chipping greens will stay closed. Parks officials recommend reserving a tee time online.
The county says it will have staff at trails and golf courses to remind visitors of the rules.
“Staff training, prominent signage, and operations protocols are also part of the department’s necessary preparation and deployment for reopening,” the parks department said.
The trails were not originally part of coronavirus shutdowns, but they were closed March 23 after a crowded, sunny weekend that raised distancing concerns.
The city of L.A. announced that its trails and golf courses will reopen Saturday as well, with the exception of Runyon Canyon, which will remain closed indefinitely. Masks will also be required on those trails.
Other trails around L.A. not maintained by the county or city, such as those within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, remain closed.
Beaches will also stay closed, for the time being. Ferrer said officials are working on a plan to begin gradually reopening them “at some point in the very near future.”
But the modified order will also allow florists and some other retailers to reopen for curbside pickup.
Car dealership showrooms can also open their doors to customers again.
“Hopefully, starting in the next week to come, other low-risk, non-essential businesses including manufacturers, offices and other retail stores will be able to slowly reopen, adhering to the distancing and infection control protocols,” Ferrer said. “And this obviously includes occupancy restrictions in order to maintain our ability to slow the spread.”
Hikers are advised to check the Trails L.A. County website for up-to-date information prior to heading out on an excursion.