Parking lots at Fresno parks temporarily closed amid COVID-19 outbreak

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A quick run or a bike ride in the park is helping folks soak in some fresh air in times of isolation.

For Melissa Bachelor and her kids, a walk in Woodward Park has become part of their new routine.

"When you've got three kids in the house and you're trying to work from home, it's a lot to juggle," Bachelor said. "Everyone's trying to keep their sanity. It's nice to get the kids outside."

Their daily trip is about to get more challenging as city officials plan to temporarily close down the parking lots at city parks starting Wednesday.

Fresno City PIO Mark Standriff says the decision comes after they noticed large crowds at several parks over the weekend.

"Especially Woodward and Roeding, that there was a significant number of people not social distancing," Standriff said. "There were large crowds there."

The closure comes a day after Gov. Newsom announced closures of parks and beaches throughout the state due to a large number of visitors.

"You're allowed to go outside for some exercise, take a walk, but walk our pets," says California State Parks Spokesperson Adeline Yee. "People didn't abide by the social distancing recommendation, so we needed to take action.

That action involves closing the parking lots to more than 30 state parks in Los Angeles, San Diego, Sonoma, and San Mateo counties.

"We're living in unprecedented times and never had done this at such a large scale," Yee said.

Other parks, like Millerton Lake Recreation area and the San Luis Reservoir, remain open for now, but state officials say that could change if they continue to attract crowds.

"We may have to take further action," Yee said. "This will include full closures of parks, trails and bathrooms. We don't want to do that. If public safety becomes a greater concern, that is an action we may have to take."

Bachelor says despite the closure, she still plans to follow her routine.

Meanwhile, city and state officials encourage folks to exercise, just at a distance.

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