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Wisconsin state parks reopen, social distancing required

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- With the ban on Wisconsin state parks lifted, and great weather Friday, Wisconsinites took to the outdoors amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is what we should be doing instead of sitting in bars, and all that type of stuff,” Corey Gainer said.

“We decided to come out on the day that it opened because we wanted to enjoy the weather, and just get outside,” Erika Lund said.

The DNR held a virtual press conference Friday, and said regular rules do apply. For instance, you still need to get a fishing license to enjoy the season for various fish beginning Saturday, you need a life jacket on a boat, and, despite issues purchasing park passes on state phone lines, you can be cited without one.

“There may have been a bit of drama in terms of the wait times because everybody is trying to get in at the same time," Wisconsin DNR Secretary Preston Cole said. "But we’ve seen those numbers just fall off the table." 

You can use a temporary email from the DNR as you wait for your sticker.

The department also said blatantly disregarding social distancing will have consequences.

“Our law enforcement staff are going to be out there," DNR Administrative Warden Matt O'Brien said. "They’re going to be visible. And I think we can rely on our public to be a good, trustworthy partner in this.”

All restrooms, water fountains, buildings and facilities will be closed at state parks during the pandemic.

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