The Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced on its website Tuesday that while Florida State Parks currently remain open for day use, effective immediately, all Florida State Parks are changing day-use visitation hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
DEP also cancelled all events, activities, special event reservations, pavilion rentals and overnight reservations at Florida State Parks for the next 60 days.
Existing overnight camping and cabin reservations that begin Wednesday, March 18, will be honored. Visitors must arrive prior to 5 p.m. on March 18, to secure their reservation. After Wednesday, all reservations moving forward will be cancelled and refunded. Beginning Friday, March 20, campgrounds and all overnight accommodations will be fully closed.
DEP's Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection facilities will also be closing the following centers until further notice:
- Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Guana Tolomato Matanzas (GTM) National Estuarine Research Reserve
- Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
“These decisions are in-line with guidance from the CDC to avoid the gathering of large groups of people,” officials said via a news release. “DEP and Florida State Parks recognize the nature of the situation surrounding COVID-19 and acknowledge these decisions may change quickly. We will continue to keep the public informed on the Florida State Parks webpage, all social media channels and through press releases, as the situation continues to develop. The department will provide updates when events and activities will resume.”