Texas' state parks and historic sites are ordered closed Tuesday by Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Historical sites operated by the Texas Historical Commission and state parks will close at 5 p.m. Tuesday and will stay closed until further notice, a news release from the governor's office said.
"Social distancing is our best tool to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives," said Abbott. "The temporary closure of our state parks and historic sites will help us achieve this goal by preventing the gathering of large groups of people. I urge all Texans to continue to stay at home except for essential services as we respond to COVID-19. By following these social distance practices, we will overcome this challenge together."
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Texas Parks and Wildlife had been parks open -- with restrictions -- until Tuesday's announcement, but warned last week that changes were possible. Additional updates are available on the department's website.
State park day passes will be refunded and overnight reservations will automatically be canceled.
“Given the myriad challenges and heightened risks of operating the parks at this time, we believe this is the best course of action right now in order to meet the health and safety expectations the state has set out for the citizens of Texas,” said Carter Smith, Executive Director of TPWD. “All state parks will remain temporarily closed until public health and safety conditions improve. During the closure, staff will continue to steward and care for the parks to ensure they can be immediately reopened to visitors at the appropriate time.”