COVID-19: Phase 1 allows state parks to reopen on Friday; Jimmie Davis State Park officials talk about excitement

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JONESBORO, LA (5/13/20)– As Louisiana enters phase one of the plan for reopening, Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser announced today that 18 state parks will reopen starting this weekend under the new guidelines.

While Louisiana heads into phase one of the Coronavirus relief plan, Jimmie Davis State Park officials say it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy family time after weeks of quarantine inside the house.

“We are ecstatic about being able to see our customers back. The park without people in it, without kids screaming and playing, without families cooking hamburgers, is just not right. We are just tickled that we are going to have our people back,” said Paul Florence, Park Manager/ Jimmie Davis State Park.

Starting Friday, the camp grounds, group camp, cabins, and the beach will be open for Louisiana residents only. All previously booked out-of-state reservations are being cancelled. Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser says Louisiana residents should take this time to get out and explore the state parks, but to also be safe.

“We are asking everyone who rents a cabin, rents a camp site, or comes out here to the beach to please keep your distance, practice social distancing. Still have a good time, but don’t gather in large groups,” said Florence.

In addition, Jimmie Davis State Park officials say employees at the front entrance will be wearing masks and gloves and will be behind a glass barrier while taking cash from customers.

COVID-19 has not been the only challenge Jimmie Davis State Park has had to tackle. Over a year ago, the state park was hit with a tornado that left a lot of damage. However, Florence says they’ve found the silver lining during a time of uncertainty.

“The one bright side to the COVID situation has been that we were able to bring in a travel team of district crew people and they have done an amazing job of fixing up the park grounds, even better than they were last year. So we are even more excited than we were last year after the tornado to open up again,” said Florence.

Florence says he can’t wait for visitors to see the progress they have done to the park since the the last time they were open as stumps, trees, and debris have been removed.

While the parks can only welcome Louisiana residents, Lieutenant Governor Nungesser says the road to our recovery starts with the strong people of Louisiana.

Jimmie Davis State Park is offering a special deal called “Welcome back” that allows you an extra free night if you book three nights at the park. This is a way to say thank you and for taking a stay-cation in Louisiana.

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