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DES MOINES, Iowa – As the Fourth of July holiday weekend quickly approaches the forecast predicts very warm weather which will draw thousands of people to state parks, beaches, lakes and rivers. The DNR along with the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Polk County Health Department are partnering to share some safety tips to help keep you safe this holiday weekend.
No matter what activities you partake in this weekend, the DNR, IDPH and Polk County Health Department want to remind you to abide all social distancing guidelines to help minimize the spread of Covid-19. Try to maintain six feet distance from others, cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and wash your hands or use a hand sanitizer frequently. Stay home if you or someone in your household is sick.
BEACH & SWIMMING SAFETY:
Wherever you choose to swim this weekend or this summer, whether it's a backyard pool, a pond or lake, or a public pool, please follow these safety tips:
Because the beaches are busier this summer, staff are encouraging visitors to utilize the non-peak times and days. For the busier beaches/parks, the non-peak days usually include Sundays through Thursdays, and Fridays before 5:00 pm. If you plan to go to the beaches on Saturdays, the non-peak hours are usually before noon.
Parks staff may temporarily close parking lots when they become full and limit the number of visitors at that point. The DNR recommends visitors go to another nearby park or beach that is not as heavily populated. Visitors are reminded to only park in designated parking spaces. All violators will be cited by staff.
Operation Dry Water will take place July 3-5, 2020. Operation Dry Water is a nationwide campaign aimed at stopping boating under the influence (BUI), especially focused on the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Heightened enforcement will be present on Iowa’s lakes and rivers in hopes to reduce the number of injuries and fatal crashes caused by boating under the influence. Last year during Iowa’s Operation Dry Water efforts, 120 officers participated, issuing 554 citations/warnings, making 16 BWI arrests and stopping nearly 2,000 vessels and making contact with over 7,500 individuals. In all of 2019, there were 66 BWI arrests on Iowa waters. Boaters should also adhere to the following safety tips:
STATE PARKS/CAMPGROUNDS SAFETY:
Our state parks have never been more utilized than they have this year. This weekend will be another very busy one if you plan to visit one, use these safety tips to ensure an enjoyable time:
Paddling is becoming one of the most popular outdoor recreational activities nowadays. Whether it be tubing, kayaking or canoeing, paddlers are enjoying the splash of the water, scenic views, and wildlife viewing from Iowa’s rivers, rapids and streams. Many new paddlers are getting out on the water for the first time this summer. Stay safe each time you paddle with these simple safety tips:
COVID-19 safety precautions have caused fireworks displays to be canceled or modified this year. Whether attending a display or celebrating in your backyard, keep these four safety tips in mind.
The annual fireworks shows at Lake Macbride and Lake Manawa have both been cancelled this year due to safety concerns with large crowds and the spread of Covid-19.