Editor's note: This story was last updated on June 9.
For many of us, summer usually means days at the pool and evenings at the park, with weekend adventures thrown in between.
And while some of that still may be possible during the summer of coronavirus, we can definitely expect changes.
It's important to note that even as Arizona loosens coronavirus restrictions, the number of Arizonans hospitalized with positive or suspected cases of COVID-19 shot past 1,000 Monday, June 1 — following a record week of cases last week and continuing an upward trend since April.
Please continue to follow guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You probably have them memorized by now, but just in case: Wash your hands, don't touch your face, maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, cover your coughs and sneezes, wear a cloth face mask when you're around others, avoid crowded places and please stay home when you're sick.
If you show up somewhere with plans to hike a trail or hit the gym and the parking lot is packed, you should expect the same of your planned activity. And maybe be ready with a backup plan.
Also, it's worth remembering that summer in Tucson has its own set of non-coronavirus safety requirements for spending any time outdoors. As you and your family enjoy summer, make sure to drink lots of water, avoid being outside and active during the hottest parts of the day and remember to be wary of flash floods during monsoons. Oh yeah, and keep your eyes open for snakes.
More and more public restrooms and water fountains are opening, but it's a good practice to be as self-sufficient as possible so you can reduce your time in shared spaces. Bring lots of water (and some snacks) and use the restroom before you go.
As you make plans to stay active and fit outside of your home, here are a few things you can expect. As always, check with individual websites for the most updated information.
City of Tucson
City of Tucson park playgrounds, ramadas, courts, equipment, pools, splash pads, recreation centers and other amenities remain closed until 6 a.m. on June 22 as part of the extension of Mayor Regina Romero’s emergency declaration. The city’s parks and recreation department submitted a plan for reopening but said that information would not be released until the mayor announced a decision about whether the declaration would end or be extended.
A full list with information about all the amenities that are open or closed can be found here.
Pima County Parks and Natural Resources opened playgrounds and other park amenities over Memorial Day weekend “with enhanced disinfection and cleaning,” spokeswoman Valerie Samoy says over email. For now, ramadas are first-come first-serve and cannot be reserved, and signs posted there discourage using them for large groups of people. All park restrooms are open and so are picnic areas.
When using these amenities the county urges the public not to go out if sick, to cover their coughs and sneezes, avoid touching their mouth and face and wash their hands or use hand sanitizer frequently.
Pools, splash pads, basketball courts and community centers remain closed. The county is planning to offer swim lessons later in the summer, possibly early July, but pools will stay closed to the public for the entire season. “Splash Pads may open in the fall (target date of Labor Day) when schools reopen and align with health and safety guidelines adopted by schools,” Samoy wrote.
Town of Marana
Most Town of Marana park amenities are now open, including courts, playgrounds, and fields. Its two splash pads will open on June 6 with modified schedules. The pool might open in mid-June after some electrical and deck repairs are completed. The town has a really helpful webpage that shows every park and what the status of its amenities and facilities, which can be found at maranaaz.gov/parkstatus.
Town of Oro Valley
The Town of Oro Valley’s courts, restrooms and ramadas are all open, although ramadas are first-come, first-serve. Playgrounds are open at the Riverfront and James D. Kriegh parks. The Oro Valley Aquatic Center is open for lap swimming by reservation only, and it is closed between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. for deep cleaning Monday through Friday. The center asks guests to wear face masks when they are not in the pool and showers are closed.
The town’s parks and recreations department regularly updates information about what’s open, what’s closed and things to know about its facilities here.
The popular west-side hiking spot reopened to walkers May 25 with a few new changes. Hikers must wear masks and maintain a distance of 6 feet from other hikers. Group sizes are limited to three people or fewer. Hikers are also being asked to give people over the age of 65 and with preexisting conditions preferential walking hours from 6-8 a.m.
People should also avoid congregating at the bottom of the hill and touching the gate at the top. Also, please don't spit. Hill hours are 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit tumamoc.arizona.edu/walk-hill for more information.
Saguaro National Park
Roads, picnic areas and hiking trails are open and restrooms on the visitor center patios are available from 8 a.m. to noon, although the visitor centers are still closed. Water is available on visitor center patios. Groups should be limited to 10 or fewer people. Visit nps.gov/sagu for more information.
Coronado National Forest
This includes Sabino Canyon, Mount Lemmon and Madera Canyon. In high-use areas such as Sabino Canyon, the visitor's center and restrooms are still closed (although there are portable toilets), according to Heidi Schewel, the public affairs officer for Coronado National Forest.
Restrooms are also closed in Madera Canyon, except at Bog Springs Campground. On Mount Lemmon, forest service restrooms are closed, but concessionaire-operated restrooms are open. Go here for a list of recently opened recreation sites in the forest, although gathering in groups should be avoided. Also take a mask to wear while passing people on the trail. Coronado National Forest asks that visitors wear masks when interacting with employees. Trash services may also be limited, so make sure you're practicing Leave No Trace principles and pack out whatever you bring in.
Currently, there are restrictions in Coronado National Forest on campfires, charcoal fires, target shooting and smoking, among other things. Make sure you brush up on those and other restrictions before you head to the forest. Visit fs.usda.gov/coronado for more information.
Catalina State Park
The visitor's center and restrooms should be open, in addition to the trails and campgrounds. Park rangers are monitoring the park to make sure it doesn't get too crowded, says Michelle Thompson, the chief of communications for Arizona State Parks. The park is encouraging social distancing and regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces in common areas and restrooms.
Catalina State Park also has fire restrictions in effect. You cannot currently make a wood or charcoal fire, and smoking should only be done in an enclosed vehicle. Leave No Trace principles also apply here. Don't expect someone else to pick up after you.
Visit azstateparks.com for more information.
A few weeks ago, we talked with a handful of Tucson bicyclists who all said the Loop has been crowded. So with that in mind, make sure that as you walk, run or ride your bike on the Loop, you maintain physical distance of 6 feet from others. Also, groups of more than 10 should still be avoided.
Bathrooms and water fountains along the Loop are open, as are ramadas and picnic areas, says Samoy with the county.
Keep to the right if you're a walker or runner, and only pass on the left (and call out or ring a bell when you do so). If you're a bicyclist, watch out for pedestrians. Check out this helpful video about Loop etiquette.
Visit the Loop's website for more information.
Gyms and fitness centers
Gyms and fitness centers were given the green light to open throughout Pima County in mid-May, and many opened their doors immediately while some chose to remain closed. The county’s guidelines for these facilities include temperature checks for staff and vendors, cloth masks, gloves and frequent hand-washing for staff, and reducing indoor occupancy to 50% or less unless 6-foot distance can be maintained with more people in the building, sanitization of high-touch areas and making hand sanitizers available throughout the space. The Arizona Daily Star spoke with several gyms about their safety procedures for a story in May.
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