« All News

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Events, Locations & Precautions

illustration of the COVID-19 coronavirus from the CDC
Illustration from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).

Last Updated: May 22, 2020, 12pm

The Forest Preserves of Cook County is open, but we have instituted many changes due to concerns associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have cancelled all public events and volunteer activities through May 31, and permitted events through June 25. We have closed some locations (including all public restrooms, nature centers, campgrounds, nature play areas, permit offices and the Swallow Cliff Stairs) through May 31, as well.

We urge you to follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask when in the forest preserves. If you see groups congregating or visitors not following social distancing guidelines, please call our non-emergency police number (708-771-1000) so we can dispatch an officer to investigate.

We are committed to the health and safety of our visitors and will continue to monitor the situation and add or extend closures and cancellations as necessary.

We are working with the Cook County Department of Public Health and the Cook County Department of Emergency Management and Regional Security to follow the latest guidelines and best practices for prevention.

For detailed cancellation and closure information:

Sign up for Cook County COVID-19 text alerts. Text AlertCook to 888-777 on your mobile device to opt-in and receive the latest COVID-19 alerts and information from the new AlertCook Cook County public health and safety messaging service.

General questions about COVID-19 in Cook County? Call (708) 633-3319 or email ccdph.COVID19@cookcountyhhs.org. The hotline and email address are staffed between 9 am and 4 pm, Monday – Friday.


Location Closures

Before visiting, always check if a location is open on our web map or by visiting the location’s page on our website. Closure notices will appear in both places.


Visitor Precautions

During the COVID-19 crisis, many Forest Preserves sites remain open as a resource for fresh air, exercise and access to nature. Please follow these guidelines to ensure your visit to a preserve or time on the trail is as safe as possible.

  • Note that all public restrooms (both indoor and portable) are closed to limit the spread of the virus, and time your visit accordingly.
  • Use Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) guidelines on hygiene before, during and after your visit:
    • Do not visit the forest preserves if you are sick or experiencing symptoms.
    • Wash your hands before and after visiting.
    • Carry and use hand sanitizer if you touch surfaces like handrails.
  • Keep a minimum distance of six feet from other trail users at all times.
  • Warn others on the trail of your presence and step off the trail when necessary to maintain six feet of distance.
  • Only visit with people in your household.
  • No picnics, cookouts, group sports or other gatherings.
  • Keep it moving. Don’t set up a spot to hang out in the preserves.
  • Don’t sit at picnic tables or benches—you could be sharing surfaces with other visitors.
  • Bring your own food and water—do not use drinking fountains or water pumps.
  • Help us by carrying any trash out with you, particularly used tissues, food wrappers, masks and gloves.

To learn more about stopping the spread of COVID-19, read the CDC’s prevention strategies.


Public Event Cancellations

We will continually review our schedule of upcoming events based on the latest information available on the spread of COVID-19.

Visit our Events Page for a full list of public events.


Permitted Event, Picnic & Room Rental Cancellations

For permitted events that are scheduled to be held through September 7, there will be no penalty for rescheduling or cancelling regardless of whether they are cancelled by the Forest Preserves or by the permit holder.

We strongly encourage patrons to call 800-870-3666 or email FPD.Permits@cookcountyil.gov to reschedule or receive a refund, as our permits offices are also closed. Because of the anticipated volume of response, we appreciate your understanding for any delays as changes are processed.

Contact Lindsay Rash at 773-558-2003 or lrash@forestpreserveevents.com to reschedule or receive a refund for room rentals.


Volunteer Event Cancellations

  • All volunteer workdays and activities are cancelled through May 31.

Camping Closures

  • All campgrounds are closed through May 31. All bunkhouses are closed through June 25.

For campsite reservations that are scheduled through May 31, there will be no penalty for rescheduling or cancelling regardless of whether they are cancelled by the Forest Preserves or by the permit holder. Call 855-YES-CAMP (855-937-2267) or email info@cookcountycamping.com to reschedule or receive a refund.

We always recommend visiting our Closures Page or the Location Page of the preserve you are visiting for current closure information.


Employee COVID-19 Cases

To protect the privacy of our employees, the Forest Preserves will only post information when an employee receives a positive diagnosis for COVID-19 and we have identified possible close contact (as defined by the CDC) with the public within the performance of their duties during the last two weeks.


Chicago Botanic Garden & Brookfield Zoo


Resources

Sign up for Cook County COVID-19 text alerts. Text AlertCook to 888-777 on your mobile device to opt-in and receive the latest COVID-19 alerts and information from the new AlertCook Cook County public health and safety messaging service.

General questions about COVID-19 in Cook County? Call (708) 633-3319 or email ccdph.COVID19@cookcountyhhs.org. The hotline and email address are staffed between 9 am and 4 pm, Monday – Friday.


President Preckwinkle COVID-19 Executive Orders