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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: September 22, 2020, 5pm

Prepare for your visit by reviewing information related to your destination or activity, along with our visitor precautions and guidelines.

We urge you to follow physical distancing guidelines and wear a mask when in the forest preserves. If you see groups of more than 25 congregating or visitors not following physical distancing guidelines, please call our non-emergency police number (708-771-1000) so we can dispatch an officer to investigate.

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 COVID-19 related guidelines and best practices for prevention.

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 appear in both places.


Visitor Precautions & Guidelines

During the COVID-19 crisis, nearly all 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.

  • A limited number of bathrooms are open. Check if a location has an open bathroom on our web map or by visiting the location’s page on our website. Bathroom notices appear in both places. Please plan and time your visit accordingly.
  • Gatherings are limited to 50 people or fewer (with physical distancing). However, gatherings of 25 to 50 people require an event permit or indoor room rental.
  • Bring your own food and water.
  • Group sports are allowed.  Sports leagues or groups with 25 to 50 people require a permit.
  • 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, or if you have been in contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last two weeks
    • Wash your hands before and after visiting.
    • Carry and use hand sanitizer if you touch surfaces like handrails.
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes (preferably with a disposable tissue).
    • Wear a cloth mask and follow CDC guidelines on proper use.
  • Keep a minimum distance of six feet at all times from visitors who live outside of your household.
  • Warn others on the trail of your presence and step off the trail when necessary to maintain six feet of distance.
  • 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 Events

  • Limited in person events have resumed. Check our Events Page for both virtual and in person events.
  • The Forest Preserves of Cook County is monitoring how conditions related to COVID-19 will impact our fall trout season. We will make a final decision on fall trout season by mid-October. Updates will be posted on the Fishing Page.

Permitted Events, Picnics & Room Rentals

To book permits for 2020 event dates, please call 800-870-3666, option 1 or email FPD.Permits@cookcountyil.gov. Online reservations are not available. All events are limited to 50 people (with physical distancing).

For permitted events and indoor room rentals that were booked before July 31, 2020 and are scheduled to be held through December 31, 2020, there will be no penalty for rescheduling or cancelling regardless of whether they are cancelled by the Forest Preserves or by the permit holder. For events and indoor room rentals booked on or after August 1, 2020, standard cancellation rules apply, unless state or local COVID-19 regulations change in a way that would prohibit the event.

Service at the Forest Preserves General Headquarters permits counter is by appointment only on Mondays and Wednesdays. We strongly encourage patrons to call 800-870-3666 or email FPD.Permits@cookcountyil.gov for their permit needs.

Please call 800-870-3666 to leave a message for in-person appointment scheduling or to book a permit by phone. Calls are returned within 24 to 48 hours.

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


Camping

Camp Reinberg, Camp Sullivan, Camp Shabbona and Camp Bullfrog Lake are open from Wednesday evening to Sunday morning for tents and cabins, and every day for RVs. Group camping is closed until further notice, but bunkhouses are available for family groups at 50% capacity at Camp Sullivan. For more information and reservations, call 855-YES-CAMP (855-937-2267). Camp Dan Beard remains closed.

For campsite reservations that are scheduled 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. Call 855-YES-CAMP (855-937-2267) or email info@cookcountycamping.com to reschedule or receive a refund.


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.


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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.


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