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Parks will stay open for Easter weekend

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KION 2021

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) Several Central Coast parks will remain open for the Easter weekend.

KION reached out to city and county leaders across the region, and most tell us the parks won't be closed.

Last year, Monterey County parks were closed for the Easter weekend to prevent large gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, Toro Park and San Lorenzo Park are still temporarily closed. Toro Park is closed as crews clean up damage caused by the River Fire. The park is expected to reopen by the end of April.

San Lorenzo Park is still closed due to COVID-19.

San Benito County and Santa Cruz County also told us their parks will remain open.

COVID safety precautions still apply, like masks and social distancing, at the parks. The City of Salinas is asking locals not to gather in large groups and follow the guidelines for their safety.

Spaces at city parks are used on a first-come, first-served basis so no reservations are required, but Salinas Library and Community Services Director Kristan Lundquist recommends families choose another park if they go to one that gets too crowded.

“We still are in a pandemic and so we are asking that they maintain their social distancing, that they don’t gather in large groups, stay really within your own household or social circle,” Lundquist said.

She also told us barbecue pits and picnic tables are closed as they have been throughout the pandemic.

As for enforcement, the City of Salinas is asking for voluntary compliance.

“In the last several weekends when we’ve had large gatherings, we have gone out and spoken to residents. You know, we really don’t want to go that route. We want residents’ voluntary compliance,” Lundquist said.

As for Monterey County parks, Toro Park is still closed, which is typically a popular Easter destination. Crews are cleaning up damage caused by the River Fire, but the park is expected to reopen by the end of April.

San Lorenzo Park is also still closed due to COVID-19.

Other parks are open, but the county is encouraging people to follow state guidance which allows up to three households to gather with safety precautions.

"If there are gatherings that go beyond that and become a problem, we do have rangers at our parks and some of our parks also have sheriff's deputies that patrol and if there are large gatherings, they will take steps as needed to break up those gatherings," Monterey County Spokesperson Maia Carroll said.

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Elisha Machado

Elisha Machado is a weekend anchor and multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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