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Moraine visitors responsible for following COVID-19 rules

May 27, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

Despite signs warning visitors at Moraine State Park that Lakeview Beach is closed, visitors are permitted on the beach but not in the water. The earliest swimming might be permitted is June 5, depending on Gov. Tom Wolf's COVID-19 phased reopening plan.

As the beach and hiking trails continue to draw crowds to Moraine State Park, visitors are, for the most part, on their own to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

The park grounds were never closed due to the pandemic, but once-closed facilities are gradually reopening under directions from Gov. Tom Wolf, said Dustin Drew, park manager.

The beach was very crowded over the Memorial Day weekend and it continues to attract more people than it normally would, he said.

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Though the beach is open, swimming is not yet permitted. The earliest swimming could be allowed would be June 5, depending on the Wolf administration reopening guidance.

Social distancing at the beach is part of the state's coronavirus rules, but park rangers are not aggressively enforcing it.

“For our own officer safety, we are not heavy handedly enforcing social distancing,” Drew said.

Rangers will respond to incidents in which people or the park's natural resources are in danger, he said.

The park office has reopened, but visitors are required to wear masks and exercise social distancing. Sneeze guards have been installed to protect staff.

The backpacking shelter, family campsites, some restrooms in day use areas and picnic pavilions are open. The pavilions can't be reserved.

The bicycle concession is open under the restrictions only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the time being, Drew said.

Not open are the boat rental and food concessions, playgrounds, nature play areas, amphitheaters and visitor center exhibit halls.

Cabins, unique houses, lodges, cottages and yurts will open June 12.

All organized group tenting and organized group cabin camps will remain closed through at least June 15 and will reopen when the county is designated green.

All events of 25 or more people and all public educational programs are canceled through June 15.