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San Bernardino County lifts some coronavirus restrictions, reopens parks and recreation areas

San Bernardino County parks and recreation facilities — including Yucaipa Regional Park, above — have reopened in a limited capacity after officials lifted some coronavirus-related closures.
San Bernardino County parks and recreation facilities — including Yucaipa Regional Park, above — have reopened in a limited capacity after officials lifted some coronavirus-related closures.
(Alena Nicholas)

San Bernardino County residents returned to the great outdoors over the weekend after officials lifted some closures initiated to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

County parks, lakes, rivers and recreation areas — as well as parking lots — reopened Saturday after more than a month-long closure.

Private and city-owned parks, trails, lakes and golf courses also opened on a limited basis. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Mojave River Forks Regional Park are still closed.

Visitors still must cover their faces and keep their distance from others to help keep the coronavirus in check, county officials said.

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“We have faith in our residents that they will respect the safe-distancing guidelines and demonstrate that keeping passive outdoor recreation open is possible as our state moves to ease restrictions,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman said in a statement. “However, if there is abuse of this new allowance, the board will have no choice but to re-close our outdoor destinations.”

It’s not quite back to business as usual, though. While many outdoor activities — such as boating, biking, hiking, tennis and horseback riding — are now OK, team sports, camping and outdoor gatherings remain a no-go.

“Put another way, members of one household engaging in open space is allowable, but two households means you have a gathering, which is not allowed,” county officials wrote in a message explaining the reopening rules.

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Officials also warned that many facilities would need to gradually resume their operations, so visitors should check ahead of time to see what amenities are available. Even in the county-operated parks that have reopened, common-use fixtures such as restrooms, playgrounds and picnic shelters remain off-limits.

In our effort to cover this pandemic as thoroughly as possible, we’d like to hear from the loved ones of people who have died from the coronavirus.

As of Sunday, San Bernardino County health officials had reported 1,751 cases of coronavirus — up 19 from the day before.

There have been 82 confirmed coronavirus-linked deaths in the county. Eighteen of the victims were residents at Cedar Mountain Post Acute Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility in Yucaipa.

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The county also recently unveiled an expanded COVID-19 dashboard offering additional data on demographics and testing numbers.

“The potential to loosen strict stay-at-home requirements and begin re-opening our economy requires a robust ability to collect and analyze relevant data,” county Public Health Director Trudy Raymundo said in a statement.

In particular, compiling more complete information about testing will help the county “gain a better understanding of who is being tested and where they are being tested, while enabling us to identify any gaps that need filling,” she added.

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