(Photo via Pixabay)

Dogs are once again allowed off leash in designated areas of East Bay Regional Park District parks, the district said Wednesday.

Park officials required all dogs to be on a leash in March when the coronavirus pandemic began in an effort to prevent crowds and potentially unsafe interactions between park visitors.

As of Friday, the district's leash rules have returned to their pre-pandemic state. According to the district, dog walkers account for 39 percent of park users, second only to hikers.

“The restrictions have helped keep parks and trails open and safe,” parks district General Manager Robert Doyle said. “Regional parks, now more than ever, play an important role in maintaining mental health and providing places where people and their pets can exercise in a safe, socially distant manner.”

Dog owners must keep their pets in view and under control when they are off leash and dogs must be placed back on a leash when they threaten, harass or chase other dogs, wildlife and park visitors.

Park users can find more information on park rules for dogs at ebparks.org/PupPro.

Eli covers public health, transportation and state politics for the Pagransen, serves as the main editor of the Public Health and COVID-19 Information Hub and assists with Pagransen' social media strategy. He has also previously covered local politics in San Diego County as well as college and professional sports across the Bay Area.