The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that it has closed Tippy Dam Recreation Area in Manistee County after a surge in visitors led to instances of improper social distancing and nonessential travel.
The DNR said it closed the recreation area until further notice, effective immediately. The department closed the south side access, which is on land manage by Consumers Energy. Entering the recreation area is punishable by a civil infraction with fines up to $500.
“The concern is twofold: residents traveling long distances and unintentionally spreading COVID-19 and visitors congregating too closely,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, in a statement. “In order to continue to keep state parks open, we urge everyone to follow effective social distancing practices, including only visiting state parks locally and avoiding high-traffic areas within parks.”
Other state parks, recreation areas, trails and boating access sites will remain open as long as social distancing measures are adhered to, the DNR said.
Outdoor exercise is exempted from the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order put in place by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month. The shelter-in-place order also exempts travel for activities like getting groceries or to and from work for workers in industries considered essential services.
It was put in place on March 24 and is in effect until April 13.
As of Tuesday, Michigan has 7,615 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The death toll is at 259.
Manistee County, the home of Tippy Dam Recreation Area, currently has one confirmed case of the coronavirus and no deaths.
The United States currently has more than 163,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 2,800 deaths, according to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]