ROCKFORD — As a result of the amended stay-at-home order made by Gov. JB Pritzker last week, the Forest Preserves of Winnebago County are reopening.
Beginning Friday, all forest preserve entrance gates will be open for limited daytime activities from 7 a.m. until 1⁄2 hour after sunset. These activities include walking, hiking, equestrian, golf and fishing, including at Four Lakes Forest Preserve, as long as social distancing is practiced.
All three Winnebago County forest preserve golf courses — Atwood Homestead, Ledges and Macktown — also are scheduled to open on Friday under the new restrictions set forth by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The Forest Preserves administration office, nature centers, playgrounds, shelter reservations, fly field and restrooms remain closed per the state mandate.
Visitors are asked to continue practicing safe social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They are asked to bring alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) and face coverings. Additional health and safety guidelines include:
• Stay home if you are sick or feeling any symptoms, such as fever, coughing, troubled breathing, and/or other flu-like symptoms.
• Visit alone or with members of your household.
• Visit preserves that are closest to where you live.
• If you arrive at a preserve and crowds are forming, move to another area or return at another time or day.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper arm/elbow.
Officials will closely monitor congestion in forest preserves. Decisions on forest preserve closings and access will be made by Forest Preserves of Winnebago County authorities based on their assessment of risk and on state health protection mandates.
Chris Green: email@example.com; @chrisfgreen