Informational COVID-19 signs have been installed at trailheads and preserve entrances in an effort to help keep visitors safe and healthy as they experience nature. The signs urge the public to continue to do their part to stop the spread of the disease by following some practical guidelines.
“The additional signage is a recommendation of health officials and one which we gladly support,” said Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve District’s chief operating officer.
The signs remind everyone to keep a social distance of at least six feet from others who are not members of their household as well as other tips from health professionals who are working to keep the coronavirus pandemic from spreading, which would cause more illness and deaths.
The trailhead sign is simple and to the point: Be close to nature, just not each other. Keep at least six feet between yourself and others.
The sign also urges visitors to pass in single file and to call 815.727.6191 to report crowded conditions.
The larger educational sign, posted at preserve access areas, has more COVID-19 tips:
- Stay close to home.
- Do not congregate in groups of 10 or more.
- Keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others.
- Wear a protective mask, and masks are required when social distancing cannot be maintained.
- If the trail is crowded, plan to visit another time or move to another area of the preserve.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and then dispose of the tissue in the trash.
- If you do not have a tissue, cover coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hand.
- Bring along hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
The signs also encourage everyone to, “Spread the message, not the germs.”
And when visitor centers reopen, floor decals will be placed inside these buildings and outside Monee Reservoir's concessions to illustrate how far six feet apart is and to remind visitors to keep their distance from one another.
Another type of temporary sign also will be used to keep crowds down to a minimum outdoors.
“While we have placed educational signs on the virus at all preserve entrances and social distancing signs at all of our trailheads, we also wanted some pop-up signs that could be used in areas where people might be concentrated or tempted to gather in larger groups,” Schultz explained.
If people don't adhere to the guidelines, it could lead to preserve and trail access reductions, he added.
"If preserves become overcrowded and visitors do not follow the proper social distancing protocol, then the Forest Preserve may choose to temporarily close certain access areas to protect the health and safety of the public."
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