On March 17, 2020, Gov. Kim Reynolds issued a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It takes significant steps to require social distancing and limit community spread of the virus by implementing temporary measures including moving restaurants to drive-through, carry-out, and delivery only and closures of certain entities such as bars and recreational facilities. The proclamation also allows state agencies additional flexibility in responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, and supports the critical work of public health.”

The Jones County Board of Health encourages the following steps to be taken at county parks, in an effort to reduce the risks associated with community spread. Community mitigation strategies are the most readily available interventions to help slow transmission of the virus in our community.

The recommended steps include:

• All pit latrines will be closed and not re-opened until at least April 30, 2020. This means no restrooms will be available in Jones County parks through that date.

• All camping facilities, areas and campgrounds, including shelters and cabins, will be closed until at least April 30, 2020.

• Use of playgrounds, park benches, tables, etc., is not recommended and strongly discouraged since they will not be able to be cleaned according to CDC guidelines by park staff. User discretion is advised.

• All naturalist activities have been canceled through at least April 30, 2020.

• All parks and wildlife areas remain open with the expectation of social distancing guidelines being adhered to.

The Jones County Board of Health and Jones County Public Health continues to work closely with our local, regional, and state partners. We also need your help and continued cooperation to reduce the impact of this virus, and thank all involved in the response to this ongoing public health emergency.

More information can be found at https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431.

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