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Coronavirus cancellations got you cooped up? Tennessee State Parks will remain open and free of charge

Group gatherings are out of the question right now, but a day of solitude out in nature might just do you good.

If you are like many people right now, the coronavirus likely has you experiencing a little bit of cabin fever.

Nearly all large events are canceled, many schools are closed for more than a week, and the Centers for Disease Control is recommending people to stay away from gatherings of 50 people or more over the next eight weeks. However, that shouldn't keep you locked away indoors totally -- so long as you are following the CDC's recommendations.

Tennessee State Parks, Ijams Nature Center, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park remain open. So long as the trails aren't crowded and people are maintaining distance from one another, a day of solitude and relaxation in the great outdoors might do you some good.

Tennessee State Parks said they will remain open and free of charge for outdoor recreation as officials continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus in Tennessee.

That includes parks in East Tennessee such as Norris Dam State Park, Seven Islands, Big Ridge, Frozen Head, and others.

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“Many Tennesseans are going through a stressful time right now, and being outside can help relieve some of that stress and improve our overall well-being,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson said. “At our State Parks, Tennesseans are able to find solace and joy in nature without compromising good public health practices.”

The parks said they are taking recommended precautions to provide a safe environment for staff and visitors, which can be found here: https://tnstateparks.com/about/keeping-visitors-healthy.

"Our employees have been instructed to following the guidelines set forth by the Tennessee Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control.  This includes frequent washing of hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and hot water, coughing or sneezing into a tissue or arm instead of hands, washing hands after touching their eyes, nose, mouth," the park system said.

Ijams Nature Center in South Knoxville said it also will remain open.

"We all want to be responsible citizens by practicing social distance in order to lessen the impact of COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay indoors. In fact, spending time moving outside is a great way to strengthen your immune system and fight the mental stress that a change in routine brings," Ijams said. 

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