Zoe Scheff, 9, wears a protective mask while tubing with her family at a crowded LaVern M. Johnson Park in Lyons on Friday. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

Editor’s note: The original version of this story included the wrong contact number and email address for more information. Details about how to make a reservation online will be available next week.

Lyons is taking action to protect residents and visitors from the spread of the coronavirus, after a surge in the number of people using its riverside parks. Many of those visitors have been reported to be non-compliant with following state health guidelines.

Starting Monday, Lyons will make several changes to its park policy, including switching to an online reservation system for picnic tables and shelters, according to an email from Lyons Trustee Greg Lowell. People wishing to use Lyons’ parks must have a reservation in hand when they arrive at the park gates. As before, tent and RV users must also have a reservation. Park hours will be reduced from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Also starting Monday, no more than 200 people will be allowed at a time in any of Lyons’ major parks, LaVern M. Johnson Park or Bohn Park. This based on the number of available parking spaces. Once those parking spaces are full, there will be no more people allowed, the email said.

The changes were created in collaboration with the mayor and the Lyons Board of Trustees and were devised after a “huge uptick in the number of visitors this summer,” Lowell said in the email.

“While Lyons has always seen big crowds at its parks, particularly LaVern Johnson Park, this season’s COVID-19 precautions have further compounded the situation,” Lowell said in the email. “With many places closed (e.g., Eben G Fine Park in Boulder), many people out of work and warm weather upon us, more people than ever are flocking to Lyons’ parks.”

Lowell added that Lyons has tried to adhere to state guidelines for social distancing and the use of face masks in the park, but that it “has proven untenable.”

“Many people are ignoring the guidelines,” Lowell said in the email. “Likewise, the town sought to limit the number of people in the parks. That limitation was based on an estimate of how many people could be safely admitted and still maintain social distancing. That effort too has been unable to be implemented due to the crush of visitors.”

A full parking lot at LaVern M. Johnson Park in Lyons on Friday. (Jeremy Papasso/Staff Photographer)

Lyons will also be increasing its parking fee from $5 to $10 for four hours. Lowell described this as a necessary increase to alleviate the added costs of cleaning the bathrooms multiple times during the day and the addition of two Boulder County Sheriff’s Office deputies on duty each weekend to assist the town and hired security officers.

Details about how to make a reservation online will be made available next week.

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