(Emma Freer)

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department will close all facilities and park amenities on Monday, including those previously reopened, such as cultural centers, pools, golf courses, tennis courts and park concessions.

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(staff/Austonia)

The city of Austin announced it would close both Barton Springs and Deep Eddy temporarily as of Tuesday and that all city parks will shut down from July 3 to July 5 to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Karen Brooks Harper

Most people wore masks—or bandanas—at McKinney Falls on the first day the state parks reopened. (Karen Brooks Harper)

Callie Rocha, 23, wanted to hit the rocks early.

Rocha, of Austin, woke up near dawn, packed up her climbing gear, and headed out to McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin to be the first one to climb the boulders after the parks reopened on Monday.

Did she do it for the bragging rights? To be No. 1? Not especially.

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Charlie L. Harper III

Zilker Park was nearly empty early this week. (Charlie L. Harper III)

At a time when bars, restaurants and most shops have closed, public parks are one of the few destinations still available to Austinites—at least until this weekend, when the city, the county and the state will close their parks, trails, greenbelts and preserves for the Easter holiday.

At the city level, this rule—in place from Thursday at sunset to Monday at sunrise—will be enforced with signage, gate closures and regular patrols by park rangers. At a press conference on Wednesday, Austin Mayor Steve Adler indicated that a longer-term closure may lie ahead.

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