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Dunes National Park to reopen shuttered beach on Saturday

The Indiana Dunes National Park will reopen part of a local beach in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but beachgoers will be monitored to make sure they adhere to coronavirus pandemic safeguards, a park official said Tuesday.

Posted: May 20, 2020 8:02 AM
Updated: May 20, 2020 3:32 PM

PORTER, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana Dunes National Park will reopen part of a local beach in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but beachgoers will be monitored to make sure they adhere to coronavirus pandemic safeguards, a park official said Tuesday.

The national park temporarily closed its portion of Porter Beach on Lake Michigan on May 6, citing “unsafe health conditions” created by overcrowding, unsafe sanitation practices and a lack of social distancing.

Park spokesman Bruce Rowe said Tuesday that the park would reopen its stretch of Porter Beach, beach parking lots and restroom facilities on Saturday, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

The beach will be closed again, however, “to protect public health” if visitors are found to be disregarding pandemic precautions, he said.

“We are urging our visitors to stay safe by practicing social distancing on the beaches to protect their health and that of other visitors,” Rowe said.

The town of Porter said in a statement Tuesday that its town council has decided to reopen its part of the beach and its parking lot once the national park reopens its beach and facilities.

All of the national park's trails and most of its beaches have remained open during the pandemic.

In February 2019, the 15,000-acre (6,070-hectare) park along the southern shore of Lake Michigan became the first national park in Indiana.

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