MATHIS, Texas — Texas State Parks are temporarily closed.
Four state parks are located in the Corpus Christi area: Mustang Island, Goose Island, Choke Canyon and Lake Corpus Christi.
The announcement was made by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to enforce social distancing because of the spread of COVID-19.
"Social distancing is our best tool to curb the spread of COVID-19 and save lives," Abbott said. "The temporary closure of our state parks and historic sites will help us achieve this goal by preventing the gathering of large groups of people. I urge all Texans to continue to stay at home except for essential services as we respond to COVID-19. By following these social distance practices, we will overcome this challenge together.”
San Patricio Co. Sheriff Oscar Rivera said Easter is a busy time for many state parks. He had assigned six deputies and three boat crews to keep an eye on Lake Corpus Christi.
But with the park's closure, San Patricio deputies, along with Texas Parks and Wildlife, will patrol the park making sure no one enters the property.
“I'm concerned about the probably 80-plus people that are already there,"RIvera said. "They are going to have to find lodging somewhere else because they are going to have to leave the state park and it’s going to be a problem."
Those who have made plans to stay at a state park had to leave the property before 5 p.m.
“The Texas State Parks Customer Service Center is currently working toward contacting customers with upcoming overnight reservations to reimburse stays booked through the reservation system,” said Texas Parks & Wildlife in a statement.
Rivera said folks need to stay healthy, and the governor's newest orders will help.
“(COVID-19) is not over in any means," he said. "We’re at the peak at the moment, so listen to what’s going on around us and see that the numbers continue to grow. We started off with two (cases) in the San Patricio County -- we’re up to seven. And look around in Corpus Christi where it keeps growing. We need to do our part by staying at home."
Abbott also declared historical buildings will be closed to the public as well.