Eased orders mean DNR campgrounds, inns reopen Friday

All of Indiana’s state-operated inns, campgrounds and cabins and will reopen Friday in time for the Memorial Day weekend as coronavirus restrictions are eased across much of Indiana, state officials said.

The state Department of Natural Resources said all of its campgrounds, property-operated cabins, camper cabins and inns would reopen Friday under the eased restrictions approved by Gov. Eric Holcomb. The sites weren’t scheduled to reopen until Sunday under the original reopening plan.

DNR spokesman JB Brindle said the agency has 7,701 camping sites around the state. The DNR resumed taking camping reservations online Thursday morning, he said, and by early Thursday afternoon about 70 percent of those sites had seen new reservations for the holiday weekend.

The DNR said swimming beaches will open Saturday at its properties, but public outdoor park pools remain closed.

Camping is limited at northeastern Indiana’s J.E. Roush Lake Fish & Wildlife Area near the city Huntington due to flooding in that area, and the DNR urged the public to call ahead to check on campsite availability there.

All but one of the DNR’s restaurants at state properties will also reopen Friday. The exception is the Garrison Restaurant at Fort Harrison State Park in Marion County, which will begin menu-only patio seating Sunday. However, it will remain closed to inside dining until June 1, in accordance with Marion County’s local pandemic restrictions.

Tougher local pandemic restrictions are still being allowed in Indiana. Eased restrictions won’t take effect until at least June 1 in Indianapolis, northwestern Indiana’s Lake County and rural northern Indiana’s Cass County, where a large coronavirus outbreak infected hundreds of Tyson meatpacking plant workers.

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