Forest Preserve District visitor centers will be closed to the public and all indoor programs canceled as part of the state’s Tier 3 COVID-19 mitigation efforts.
Dog parks, preserves, trails, campgrounds and latrines will remain open. And while the buildings will be closed for public access, employees will continue to work on site or remotely and phones will be staffed during normal facility hours.
Visitor centers that will be closed as of 4 p.m. Friday, November 20, for an indeterminate amount of time are: Four Rivers Environmental Education Center in Channahon, Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Monee Reservoir Visitor Center in Monee Township, Plum Creek Nature Center in Crete Township and Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet.
According to a press release from the governor's office, Tier 3 mitigations are necessary because of a "new wave COVID-19 surging across the state of Illinois and the nation," and the goal is to "suppress the spread of the virus and ensure our hospitals do not become overrun."
The state wants everyone to limit gatherings and to stay home "to the greatest extent possible."
All indoor Forest Preserve programs scheduled after Friday will be canceled and cancellations of outdoor programs will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Program registrants will be notified. Online programs will continue.
Face masks are required for 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.
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.
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.