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Visitor Centers to Reopen to Public Saturday Due to Shift to Tier 1 COVID-19 Status



Photo for: Visitor Centers to Reopen to Public Saturday Due to Shift to Tier 1 COVID-19 Status

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Three Forest Preserve District visitor centers will reopen to the public on Saturday, January 23, now that Will County's COVID-19 mitigation status has moved to a less restricted level.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday, January 21, that Region 7, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, would be moving from Tier 3 to Tier 1 mitigation status. 

The three visitor centers that will reopen Saturday are: Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville and Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township. Visitor center hours for these facilities are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday and closed Monday.

While the buildings are reopening for walk-in traffic, a 25 percent capacity restriction will be in effect, per Tier 1 guidelines.

All Forest Preserve District visitor centers were closed in November as part of the state’s Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet reopened January 4 and its hours are 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Dog parks, preserves, trails, campgrounds and latrines remain open.

Forest Preserve employees have continued to work on site or remotely throughout the pandemic and its changing phases and mitigation levels, and phones have been staffed throughout this time period.

Other changes that will be instituted as a result of the county's new Tier 1 status are:

  • Indoor public programs will resume with a maximum of nine participants. 
  • Outdoor programs will continue with a revised maximum capacity of 50 people. 
  • Field trips will resume with a maximum of 50 students. 
  • In-school programs will resume for one classroom at a time. 
  • Youth group programs will resume with a maximum limit of 10 attendees. 
  • Indoor rentals at Four Rivers will resume, but the capacity is capped at 25 people for the Grand Hall and seven in each of the facility's classroom. 
  • Picnic, camping and non-District event permits will be available with a 50-person maximum.  
  • Face masks are required for indoor and outdoor program participants, with the exception of those younger than 2 years old and those with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing one, per state guidelines. 

Online programs will continue via Zoom webinars and Facebook Live presentations. Program listings can be found on the District's Event Calendar.

Throughout the pandemic, the Forest Preserve has been urging everyone to abide by advice from health experts to:

  • Wear masks outdoors if you can't maintain a social distance of at least 6 feet from others.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently for at least 20 seconds.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you if you can't wash your hands.
  • Use disinfecting wipes on surfaces that may have been touched by others.
  • Choose to visit outdoor recreational sites that are less crowded or go at a time when there will be fewer people at the same location.
  • Stay home if you feel sick. 

For more information on COVID-19 in Will County, visit the Will County Health Department's website

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Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

____________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

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