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Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) rest areas along the interstates and state highways remain open during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“We have no plans to close the rest areas as long as we have the staff and cleaning supplies,” said Vivian Payne, ODOT Interim Maintenance and Operations Branch Manager, in a press release.

But Payne said the public has a key role in ensuring the rest areas will not be infection points for the virus.

“Everyone plays an important role in limiting its spread by keeping their distance and practicing good hygiene,” Payne said.

Rest areas managed by the Oregon Travel Information Council or funded by ODOT will remain open, including the Interstate 5 Rest Stop at Canyonville, managed by the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

Cleaning of most rest areas has been doubled, and signs have been added warning those using the facilities to keep at least six feet apart at all times.

The I-5 Siskiyou Rest Area south of Ashland remains open to all northbound traffic, except commercial trucks. The Siskiyou Welcome Center, managed by Travel Oregon, closed last Friday, March 20, due to concerns over the virus and public safety.

All state parks are closed at least until May 8, but the rest area portion of a state park will remain open, according to Oregon State Parks and Recreation spokesman Chris Havel.

Barricades will separate a state park’s open rest area from the closed recreation area.

ODOT reminds travelers that the best choice is to not use the rest areas at all, but avoid unnecessary travel. Governor Kate Brown’s Executive Order says to “Stay Home, Save Lives”.

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