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Thieves steal toilet paper

EMPIRE, MICH. (AP) — Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in northern Michigan has closed all of its restrooms after vandals ransacked them and made off with toilet paper and hand sanitizer, two items made scarce by the coronavirus pandemic.

Park Superintendent Scott Tucker said vandals unrolled entire rolls of toilet paper and broke plastic dispensers in the restrooms to steal bags full of hand sanitizer over the weekend. In response, the park locked all of its restrooms, including rustic vault toilets, on Monday because they lack items needed for visitors to safely use them.

“We’re dealing with damage to restroom facilities and the inability for visitors to maintain proper handwashing,” he told MLive.com.

Tucker said he anticipates the park will eventually reopen a few vault toilets, but only when enough supplies are available, including personal protective equipment for park staff to safely clean and maintain those facilities.

The park’s outdoor spaces, including trails, remain open to the public under the stay-at-home order Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued Monday to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Outdoor recreation activities such as walking, hiking and cycling are exempt from that order, although the park has closed its campgrounds.