Wait, What's open?
We just spoke to a ranger in one of the national forests in California. He told us that his office has no way of issuing permits on-line, so they are not issuing permits. They don't have, and won't ask, the staff and volunteers to meet with large numbers of the public to issue those permits. They are concerned about the health of their staff and volunteers. I can understand that.
But Desolation Wilderness issues permits through recreation.gov--and they are operating normally right now. So you can get a permit to backpack in Desolation, where you will probably run into other hikers. But not in other, less trafficked areas because those areas don't have enough traffic to justify an on-line reservation system. We should point out that if you CALL the Desolation Wilderness office, you will be told that you should observe all government guidelines concerning only necessary travel. We were given a clear warning by the wilderness office that we should not make an unnecessary trip to go backpacking--and we should not expect the usual support from EMT or SAR staff if anything goes wrong. Fair enough.