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Tenn. state parks to reopen Friday

tennessee state parks sign
Posted at 4:16 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 17:16:48-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee State Parks will reopen most of its 56 parks Friday, April 24. However, officials say overcrowding may cause entire parks or portions of parks to close again.

The parks will be open for day-use only, and according to Gov. Lee, social distancing guidelines should be maintained. The decision came after the governor announced his "Safer-at-Home" order will expire on April 30, and most businesses will reopen May 1.

Tennessee State Park officials encouraged the following for those visiting a park:

  • Stay at home if you are sick or do not feel well.
  • Maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other visitors.
  • Visit parks that are only a short distance from your home.
  • Consider visiting earlier in the day so you can adjust plans if a park is full. Tennessee State Parks may limit access to certain parks or areas if capacity is reached.
  • Plan ahead. Many Tennessee State Parks buildings will be closed. Plan to bring your own snacks, water and hand sanitizer.
  • Prepare for limited or no bathroom access. Some restrooms remain open, but many will not.
  • Consider bringing a mask and wearing it when around other people.
  • Carry your trash with you or dispose of it in the appropriate containers to help keep our cleaning staff safe and our parks litter-free.

“We are eager to serve once again but we urge Tennesseans to continue to practice physical distancing when visiting parks,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, said. “We have implemented policies designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we will monitor all aspects of the issue to ensure safety among visitors and our staff.”

Facilities and gathering areas, including pavilions and playgrounds, will remain closed. Cabins, lodges, restaurants, campgrounds, and group camps remain closed. For more information on which parks will open visit: www.tnstateparks.com.

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What is COVID-19 (a.k.a. the new coronavirus?)

According to the World Health Organization, coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Examples include the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. COVID-19 stands for "Coronavirus disease 2019," which is when this strain of the coronavirus was discovered.

What are the symptoms?

The CDC says patients confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV reportedly had mild to severe respiratory illness with:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Or at least two of the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • New loss of taste or smell

At this time, the CDC believes symptoms could appear as soon as two days after exposure, or as long as 14 days.

Prevention

The CDC is recommending "common sense" measures such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.