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Folsom Lake reopens entrances after closing due to coronavirus pandemic

Parks officials said although their officers and local law enforcement have the authority to issue citations, they're hoping people will adhere to the guidelines.

FOLSOM, Calif — For the first time in weeks, the boat launches and parking lots at Folsom Lake are reopen.

Donna Long, a Folsom resident who used to come to the lake to fish weekly, said she was thrilled to hear she could get back on the water.

"In fact, I was the first person to launch today," said Long, who added that she caught five trout and a salmon on the lake.

Long came out to the lake by herself and said she is following the rules set by the state park by social distancing herself from others while out on the lake and on the boat launch.

Doug Scalzi, another Folsom resident, said that he is happy to see people out and about, but he does have concerns about state parks reopening before small businesses.

"Last weekend, the parking garage and all the lower parking lots of the historic district were full," Scalzi said. "They were all full. They were all going down to Lake Natoma and the streets were empty on Sutter Street."

RELATED: State parks close parking lots to slow coronavirus spread

Governor Gavin Newsom shutdown the parking lots to state parks because of large number of people fleeing to the lakes and trails, ignoring social distancing guidelines in the process.

Scalzi said that didn't stop people from still coming to the lake. He recorded a video of people parking in the parking lots of closed businesses leaving behind their trash and walking to the lake beaches.

"It's great seeing people out. I don't have a problem with that," Scalzi said. "I just have a problem with them not being able to patronize our businesses."

The California Department of Parks and Recreation posted new visitor guidelines on its website telling people to stay local, encouraging people to bike or walk to the park, and to not take road trips to the lake.

There are also signs along the trails reminding people of the rules while at Folsom Lake.

"I do believe it will relieve some, but when these guys have the option to still park in an empty parking lot at a restaurant, they are going to do that" instead of paying to get it, Scalzi said.

RELATED: National parks visitors should plan for 'new normal' as pandemic continues

California State Parks said in a statement to ABC10 that although the public health orders are modified, it does not mean are back to normal.

"It is critical that Californians continue to stay close to home, practice physical distancing, avoid congregating with others outside their immediate household and abide to new visitor guidelines State Parks has implemented across the state park system to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic," the statement said.

Parks officials said although their officers and local law enforcement have the authority to issue citations, they're hoping people will adhere to the guidelines posted by the state.

In regards to Scalzi's concerns about people parking at local businesses and walking to the lake, parks officials said "the areas outside our park units are not enforced by State Parks. The local jurisdiction for those areas will be handling any issues that may arise."

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Monica Coleman.

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