Social distancing this Memorial Day? Many turn to camping in southern Arizona

Social distancing this Memorial Day? Many turn to camping in southern Arizona
Do you have a right to a refund if you don't feel comfortable keeping travel plans with COVID-19? (Source: KOLD News 13)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Memorial Day. It’s the unofficial start of summer and a holiday that is usually one of the busiest weekends on the roads, filled with family, friends, BBQ’s and ceremonies to honor the country’s heroes.

What your tradition may be, chances are, this Memorial Day weekend with be different this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

With health precautions and regulations, campgrounds that have reopened here in Southern Arizona be an easy place to spread out.

[ Saguaro National Park to reopen some facilities during Memorial Day weekend ]

“I feel very comfortable because people are far apart and they’ve really been respectful on the trails about maintaining distance. Nobody here is in my face, so I think it’s a great place," said Simone Paisley, set up for the weekend at Catalina State Park Friday.

“As far I’m concerned, I feel more comfortable here than I do standing in line at the grocery store, so I think it’s the perfect environment," said Paisley.

When KOLD News 13 called the park to ask about availability for camping space this weekend, we were told the park would probably be at capacity Saturday. State parks and national forests are asking visitors to be responsible and practice social distancing.

Something campers told KOLD News 13 is common sense.

“We do have amenities on the inside, so we don’t need to use the local facilities, bathrooms, things like that," said Jessica Christian. "We’ve come prepared with all the proper sanitation items, so, we should be good.”

“Everybody just needs to work together as a team, we’re all in this together," said Tim MacDonald. "Let’s be safe, think of others and we’ll all get through it.”

Another responsibility visitors need to take seriously is the fire risk in Southern Arizona over the weekend. U.S. Forest Service officials sounded the alarm after a wildfire ignited on Mt. Lemmon Thursday night. The cause was determined to be from an abandoned campfire.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, when an investigator got to the scene, the area near the campfire was still warm, meaning the visitors probably didn’t attempt to extinguish it correctly.

BUT, the campfire shouldn’t of been started in the first place. There are Stage II fire restrictions in effect for area parks. The restriction means no wood or charcoal fires are allowed and no smoking except inside a car.

“I think it’s a good place to come when there’s a quarantine on. There’s space, air, there’s UV light. I think all of those are good," said James Wingert, a hiker at Catalina State Park Friday.

“If you can’t wear a mask, six feet apart - it’s as easy as that," said hiker Damacius Williams.

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