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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: June 11, 2021, 3:25 pm

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

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.

  • Nature Centers are open with limitations:
    • Grounds & Trails: Open seven days per week, from 8 am to 4 pm.
    • Building & Indoor Exhibits: Limited access, varies by location. Check individual Nature Center pages for details.
    • Bathrooms: Open seven days per week, from 8 am to 4 pm.
    • General: Masks are required indoors for visitors who are not vaccinated. Please be mindful of others and physically distance. Drinking fountains are not available, please bring your own water.
  • Busse Lake Boating Center (224-415-6554) and Tampier Lake Boating Center (708-830-5194) boat rentals are available Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 7:15 pm on a first come, first served basis. Please call ahead confirm rentals are available. Masks are required in the boating center area. Boat rentals at Maple Lake Boating Center and Tower Road are closed temporarily until further notice.
  • Aquatic centers will not open in 2021. Because of the extensive seasonal preparation required to operate the Forest Preserves aquatic centers, and the uncertainty in the winter and spring surrounding changing COVID-19 public health measures, we have decided to keep the aquatic centers closed for the entire 2021 season.
  • Permit offices at our General Headquarters and Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center are open for limited hours. An appointment is required and can be booked online.

Visitor Precautions & Guidelines

During the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly all Forest Preserves sites have remained 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.

  • Unvaccinated visitors should practice physical distancing (six feet from other people) around visitors from outside of their household.
  • Unvaccinated visitors must wear a mask indoors at all times; and wear a mask outdoors when physical distancing (six feet from other people) is not possible. Follow CDC guidelines on proper use.
  • 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 of COVID-19.
    • 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).
  • 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

Check our Events Page for more information about specific events.


Permitted Events, Picnics & Room Rentals

Starting June 18, 2021, there are no COVID-19 related capacity restrictions for outdoor permitted events and picnics.

There are no COVID-19 related capacity restrictions for indoor room rentals.

Permit offices at our General Headquarters and Dan Ryan Woods Visitor Center are open for limited hours. An appointment is required and can be booked online.

Refunds will only be issued in the event that state or local COVID-19 public health guidelines require the Forest Preserves to cancel your permit. Late and change fees will not apply.


Camping

There are no COVID-19 related campsite capacity restrictions. Visit the Camping Page to book a campsite.


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