BOSTON (CBS) — Spring shifted into high gear Saturday as sunshine and mild temperatures brought people outside. Any other year that would be no problem, but the new normal of COVID-19 presents challenges.

State parks will temporarily close this weekend if they reach visitor capacity, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said. The effort is to promote social distancing as many people head outside to enjoy the nice weather.

The closures will be updated on social media. “Before heading out to a state park or property, be sure to check out the @MassDCR twitter feed for updates on park closures,” the department tweeted.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, six different parks had been closed once or more for two hours to prevent crowding.

In another effort to keep hikers socially distant, a one-way trail system was also implemented at Purgatory Chasm effective immediately. It will stay that way until further notice.

Park visitors in South Boston said more people aren’t following social distancing guidelines.

“This is going to get more and more difficult to keep to these rules as the weather gets nicer and nicer,” said one park visitor. “It is gorgeous being out here right now after it raining all week long. I’m a little concerned people won’t be as vigilant.”

Gov. Charlie Baker’s order to wear a mask anytime you go outside doesn’t take effect until next week, but many people could be seen wearing them.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the City would tighten rules on mask wearing.

“When runners or bikers run or bike, or even walk, for that matter, other people are out there wearing face masks and they’re doing it to protect you and them,” he said on CNN Saturday. “We just want to return the courtesy of that.”

Along with the masks, there were traffic and parking restrictions along the waterfront. But many believe the new normal is a good idea at least for now.

“I guess Im just wondering is there an end is sight” one woman said. “Because I don’t know how much longer we can go on with this, but we have to do what we need to do.”


Jim Smith