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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Some Coping With Coronavirus Threat By Going To A Park

Courtesy of Cincinnati Nature Center

With COVID-19 restrictions forced on them, many people have an overwhelming desire to get outside. Despite the rainy weather, park visitors are taking advantage of the opportunity to hike, bike and fish.

The Cincinnati Nature Center has noticed a 60% increase in visitor traffic from last year to this year. Executive Director Jeff Corney says it had 1,000 people a day on Monday and Tuesday.

"We feel like we're kind of a last refuge for a lot of folks, especially with kids home from school and what not."

At the kiosk outside the visitor's center, Corney says people tell employees how grateful they are that the Cincinnati Nature Center is open.

Hamilton County ParksSpokeswoman Jennifer Sivak says there aren't any official attendance numbers but the parks have waived the Motor Vehicle Permit to encourage people to come out. Bathrooms are closed but the parks are open for "passive" recreation like hiking and fishing.

Outdoor playgrounds, however, are not being sanitized so be advised if you intend to visit.

For the most part, visitor's centers are closed at area parks. Other facilities may still be open and extra cleaning policies are in place at some locations.

This is from a Clermont County news release: "The Park District maintenance staff has instituted a series of daily disinfectant protocols for all public and rental spaces, including Pattison Lodge, Hartman Cabin and all Park District restroom facilities."

Other important information from the Clermont County Parks District:

  • Guests may pay for a facility rental by mail or over the phone.
  • Viewings of the Pattison Lodge and Hartman Cabin have been discontinued.
  • The Chilo Lock 34 Park Visitor Center and Museum will be closed until further notice.

"Passive Recreation" still on in Kenton County

From the Kenton County website:

Parks are currently open to the public for passive recreation (hiking, biking, fishing, wildlife observation), but due to COVID-19 (coronavirus), shelter houses and playground equipment are closed until further notice.
All park restrooms remain closed from the winter season (Port-O-Lets are available), but please plan accordingly with hand sanitizer. Passive recreation includes hiking, fishing, biking, wildlife observation and walking. All programs continue to be cancelled until further notice.
Kenton County is also recommending that you keep groups to less than 10 people and practice social distancing.

Ann Thompson has decades of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market and brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting.