TEMPLE, Texas — With Texas in phase two of re-opening the state many parks and recreation areas have been flooded with people.
"We have seen a record number of visitation," Bradly Ellis, Lead Park Ranger for United States Army Corps of Engineer, said.
Parks like Temple Lake Park have been open since the beginning of May and law enforcement officers said they have been absolutely packed from the second they opened back up.
"The past few weekends have been so busy its felt like it was a holiday weekend," Bryan Dulock, Texas Game Warden, said. "So with that being said we are expecting a very busy holiday weekend."
Although the parks are open for recreational use many areas will still remain closed to maintain the social distancing guidelines.
"Were keeping the community pavilions and playgrounds closed at this time," Ellis said. "Anywhere that large groups of people will congregate will stay closed for the foreseeable future."
CDC guidelines are being enforced by park rangers in conjunction with the Texas Game Wardens and the Bell County Sheriff's Department.
"We are using a PA system to warn people when they need to disperse," Ellis said. "But most of these regulations need are in the hands of the people who are coming out, like if you feel sick please don't come into our parks."
Many people feel that because of the coronavirus and social distancing, law enforcement is going to be more lenient with rules, but Dulock has made it clear that is not the case.
"We are treating this like every other holiday weekend and all laws are still in full effect," Dulock said. "Coronavirus is not stopping us by any means do not think we aren't out here because we are."
Several lake go-ers said they are not worried to be out in public and were concerned there would be no Memorial Day weekend this year.
"I rolled around in dirt as a kid so I don't think I am going to get it," Chanler Thomas said. "I'm just happy to be out here and be social because I couldn't be cooped up in the house."
The hours are 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., bathrooms are open and there is no charge to get into any of the parks in order to keep gate attendants safe.
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