Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations due to COVID-19
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Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations due to COVID-19

Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations due to COVID-19
4/13/2020

Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations, closures to June 7.

Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations due to COVID-19

Five Rivers MetroParks extends cancellations, closures to June 7

To protect public health and safety, Five Rivers MetroParks has extended cancellations and select closures through Sunday, June 7. Currently, MetroParks' outdoor parks and trails remain open. It is critical everyone follow the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing, when spending time outdoors.

The cancellations and select closures were originally scheduled through May 3. The extension to June 7 includes the cancellation of programs, events, volunteer activities, shelter and camping reservations, and rentals — as well as the closure of such indoor facilities as the 2nd Street Market and visitor centers. Details about closures can be found on MetroParks’ alerts page and on individual park web pages.

“Five Rivers MetroParks cares deeply about the health of its employees, volunteers and community,” said Five Rivers MetroParks Executive Director Becky Benná. “The COVID-19 public health emergency is a serious and evolving situation. Extraordinary measures are needed to protect the public’s health and safety during these extraordinary times.”

Registered program participants, permit holders, and those with facility rentals and reservations have been notified and full refunds will be issued in the coming days. This decision is being made now to give affected community members time to adjust plans.

The decision to extend cancellations and closures also was made in response to information that continues to be shared by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On April 2, Gov. Mike DeWine and Dr. Amy Acton of the Ohio Department of Health extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 1. In the governor’s April 8 daily press conference, they noted restrictions currently in place — including social distancing, limitations on large gatherings and the emphasis on hygiene — will remain in place for some time.

“Five Rivers MetroParks thanks the public for its cooperation and understanding during this time,” Benná said. “Nature is open, and spending time outdoors — whether in your favorite local greenspace or back yard — helps people de-stress, improve their physical and mental health, and cope with the effects of COVID-19 precautions. MetroParks is working hard with limited staffing to keep our community’s Five Rivers MetroParks open, and we’re asking the community to help us do so.”

Five Rivers MetroParks also encourages community members to connect with nature by spending time in a more private outdoor space, such as their back yard or neighborhood.

MetroParks is asking the public to help keep their parks and trails open by always following the CDC’s recommendations, particularly for social distancing, and taking the following preventative actions when using any outdoor spaces:

  • Maintain a distance of at least six feet from people who aren’t part of your household.
  • Alert other visitors of your presence and step aside by six feet if you need to pass.
  • Explore less frequently used parks, trails, and Medlar and Dull Woods conservation areas, along with the region’s more than 340 miles of paved recreation trails — the nation’s largest paved trail network. Avoid parks that are usually busy, such as RiverScape MetroPark.
  • Prepare to carry out everything you carry in, including dog waste, as many trash cans have been removed to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • Do not touch or use communal surfaces, such as picnic tables, benches and handrails.
  • Follow the CDC’s recommendation to wear cloth face coverings (masks) in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Please note that wearing a mask is NOT a replacement for social distancing and handwashing. Read more about using cloth face coverings on the state’s COVID-19 web page.

Visitors also need to plan ahead for other limitations and restrictions currently in effect:

  • Restrooms, water fountains, and playgrounds and nature play areas are closed.
  • Seating is limited following the removal and closure of many swings and benches.
  • To help visitors maintain social distancing, Five Rivers MetroParks Rangers are monitoring parking. Lots may periodically be closed or parking limited at MetroParks locations that are typically busy, including Cox Arboretum, Aullwood Garden, Englewood East Park and Sugarcreek MetroParks.

“We believe many parks, trails and open spaces can be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits nature provides,” Benná said. “During this time of uncertainty, these places are needed now more than ever. We all need to do our part to use them in a way that respects each other and adheres to the governor’s and public health department’s orders, as well as CDC recommendations.”

Coronavirus: Local Covid-19 News

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