Most Central California lakes are open and ready for Memorial Day weekend

Authorities are reminding visitors to practice social distancing and wear a life jacket.
Memorial Day Weekend marks the unofficial start of summer.

As counties begin to ease COVID-19 restrictions, families are expected to take advantage of the holiday weekend by hitting some of Central California's favorite waterways.

Families began launching boats at Millerton Lake early Friday.

Many local waterways had been closed due to the statewide 'stay at home' order but Bass Lake, Millerton and Pine Flat are now all open and expected to be busy this weekend while Southern California Edison, which controls Shaver Lake, is taking cues from Sacramento and will remain closed.

"Safety is the priority and keeping everybody, the public, the business owners, our workers safe. That remains the priority," says Social Edison spokesperson Julia Roether.

More people on the water also means boat patrols.

Fresno County Sheriff Deputies will be out on the water at Pine Flat this weekend.

"We just ask - know your swimming abilities,. Even if you're a great swimmer, wear a life jacket because unexpected things can happen and that could be the difference between life and death," says Fresno County sheriff's office spokesperson Tony Botti.

Authorities are also expecting some of the Valley's smaller waterways to attract visitors this weekend as well - even if they won't be patrolling in the water.

Although many waterways are back open and the weather is warming up, government officials are still reminding families to practice social distancing and not gather while enjoying the outdoors.
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