San Marcos River parks to close as COVID-19 cases surge in Hays County

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SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The San Marcos River is a welcomed spot for people looking to beat the summer heat, but it could become less welcoming as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Hays County.

“It is crazy and it is still kind of busy sometimes, but people don’t seem to be maintaining distance at all,” said Jake Mowen, who lives in San Marcos.

The river is a popular stop in the summer drawing in thousands of people, especially during the pandemic.

“With this huge spike, that is obviously a lot of cause for concern,” said Jamie Case, San Marcos Parks and Recreation assistant director. “Ever since we reopened, we have seen a surge in park usage not only from our residents, but also from folks all around the state.”

Hays County has seen a recent increase in the number of cases over the last two weeks.

“We have people from out of town coming over,” said Mowen.

There are now more than 2,000 COVID-19 cases in the county. The city parks and recreation department says tubing has played a role in the spread and now they are taking action.

“Unfortunately tubing is a river recreation and we are going to have to do our part and that means closing our river parks right now,” said Case.

Another concern is the 4th of July which is a time when the parks swell with visitors.

The city says the river parks will reopen again when the number of cases levels out and starts to drop.

“It could be two weeks it could be two months, we are really at the mercy of COVID right now,” said Case.

The following parks will be closed until further notice as of 8 p.m. on June 25:

  • Rio Vista Park, City Park
  • San Marcos Plaza Park
  • Juan Veramendi Park
  • Bicentennial Park
  • Children’s Park
  • Crook Park
  • Dog Beach
  • Cape’s Dam
  • Thompson’s Island
  • Stokes Park
  • Ramon Lucio Park and Wildlife Annex/Wilderness Park.

Other park facilities remaining closed are:

  • Children’s Park Playscape
  • City Park Playground
  • Tennis courts
  • All neighborhood park playgrounds and basketball courts
  • Rio Vista pool

Public restroom facilities and water fountains in all city parks and natural areas will remain closed until further notice.

The city says Lions Club Tube Rental will be closing until the river parks reopen.

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