Gov. Tim Walz on Wednesday announced several changes to his Stay Safe Minnesota orders, allowing for the partial reopenings of bars, restaurants, salons and campgrounds to open June 1.
Of course, each of these reopenings comes with safety restrictions. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources posted the guidelines for campgrounds Wednesday. Here is a breakdown of what it says:
Rules for campground operators:
- All operators must have a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan. Operators are encouraged to consider “phased reopenings” as they prep their staff with training on social distancing and sanitation, personal protective equipment (like gloves, masks and goggles) and other supplies. Operators need to stay ready to adapt or possibly close operations, depending on circumstances.
- Operators do not have to open campground facilities.
- Capacity for the campground is based on designated parking spaces and needs to be “proactively enforced.” Maximum occupancy should be enforced based on the number of bathrooms open, which must have room for social distancing.
- Campsites should stay at least "50 feet apart from the centerlines of surrounding campsite spurs and the adjacent campsite," or at least 30 feet from the "near sides of adjoining spurs."
- Common spaces must remain closed, with clear signage indicating they are off-limits. This includes visitor centers, amphitheaters, pavilions, communal fire rings and playgrounds.
- Cabins, yurts, bathrooms, laundry facilities, fish cleaning stations and docks, contact ranger stations, picnic shelters, food service and rental equipment can be available to the public if operators enforce social distancing and cleaning protocols mandated by the MDH and CDC. This includes enhanced cleaning protocols and limited face-to-face check-in and check-out procedures.
- If bathrooms can’t be maintained under these guidelines, campgrounds can limit use to one person or household at a time, or only allow visitors in recreational vehicles with bathrooms. More detailed information is outlined under No. 6 in the guidelines.
- Operators are encouraged to have basic supplies, such as toiletries, sunscreen and bug spray, so that campers don’t visit the town to buy items.
- All staff should be screened for COVID-19 before work, using questions from the MDH Visitor and Employee Health Screening Checklist. Anyone with potential COVID-19 symptoms or who has been in contact with someone who may have COVID-19 should stay home.
- Campgrounds should have consistent and appropriate signage regarding social distancing, closed facilities, capacity limits, sanitizing protocols for individuals using public amenities, and basic COVID-19 health reminders, such as staying home if sick, covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands and wearing a mask.
- Members of the same household can reserve an individual campsite. Multiple household groups can reserve a larger group site to ensure proper social distancing.
- Visitors should pay online in advance or on-site pay stations for things like reservations, permits and retail transactions such as firewood and ice, to minimize the use of cash.
- Visitors should set up sleeping, campfire and eating areas with maximum distance from adjacent campsites and should stay at least six feet from members of other households.
- The DNR encourages visitors to be “as self-contained and self-sufficient as possible” by bringing soap, disinfectant supplies, hand sanitizer, toilet paper and paper towels.