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Summer Canceled: Minneapolis Closes All Beaches Until Fall

Lake Harriet
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The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board this week announced an aggressive, proactive move to fight the spread of coronavirus.

The Land of 10,000 Lakes will have a notable shortage of beaches this summer. In a sweeping, preemptive measure aimed at preventing any possibility of a pandemic rebound, Minneapolis announced all public beaches will be closed for the entire summer.

“The level of public congregation that takes place at aquatic facilities and the level of staff required to operate these facilities will make it impossible to open and manage these facilities safely this summer,” the MPRB said on its website.

The move closes many popular gathering spots in Minnesota’s largest city. Most notably, all beaches along the iconic “chain of lakes” — Lake of the Isles, Lake Bde Maka Ska, Lake Harriet, and Cedar Lake — will be closed for the state’s already short summer. Other notable lakes that will close beaches include Nokomis and Hiawatha.

While it may seem a drastic measure to some, the move appears to address concerns that COVID-19 could resurface or linger even after “flatten the curve” measures reduce the current spread of the virus.

The MPRB announcement also impacted public restrooms and toilets, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, seasonal recreation employee hiring, and several concerts and events.

The MPRB did say that trails, parks, athletic fields and courts, and other facilities would remain open as long as they didn’t interfere with social distancing measures.

The board didn’t say when beaches would reopen. But some closures, like sanctioned events, might reopen beginning in September.

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