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Lorain County Metroparks opening beach, water sports

Posted at 9:54 AM, Jun 12, 2020

LORAIN, Ohio — Are you ready to get out on the water? You can starting Friday at Lorain County Metroparks, but things will be different in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Metroparks staff say they’ve taken a slow and steady approach to reopening to make sure they’re keeping up with state safety guidelines.

Friday, the beach at Lakeview Park will open for the summer. It will have lifeguards daily from 12 p.m. until 6 p.m. through the second week of August.

Lorain County Metroparks Assistant Director Jennifer Bracken says staff won’t be limiting the amount of people on the beach, but they are discouraging people from gathering in groups of 10 or more and will separate groups if they are too large. There will also be signage reminding people to socially distance.

“We're doing our part, we ask that our park visitors do their part so that we can continue to stay open and offer these resources, but the reality is that, you know, the local health districts and obviously the state is watching what we're doing and how we're doing it,” Bracken said. “Our locations are places where a lot of people come to be with their families and to recreate, but everybody has to be cognizant of the rules so that we can continue to offer these services as we get to through the summer.”

Kayak and paddleboat rentals will also start back up Friday at Wellington Reservation.

One-hour rentals are available Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays and those interested have to pre-register.

On June 22, the park’s two recreation centers, Mercy Health Amherst HealthPlex and Splash Zone, will open, but with restrictions. Reservations are needed to swim in indoor pools, both centers will close on Sundays for deep cleaning, and the splash pad and outdoor pool at Splash Zone will remain closed for the summer.

“Obviously, it's going to look a lot different as we open those doors, but we're excited to get those facilities back up and running,” Bracken said.

Bracken says it's been challenging to not be able to offer the services they normally do and had to think outside the box to introduce people to outdoor activities they normally wouldn’t try.

“We’ve really put a strong focus on our outdoor water sports this year. Because this is an opportunity where normal traditional activities are either very different for families or nonexistent. So here's a chance for people to jump in a kayak, stand up paddleboard, canoe with their families,” Bracken said.

Bracken says staff are really counting on people to do their part and follow guidelines while visiting the parks. They’re also looking into ways they can open more facilities and have more programs in July.

“We haven't figured it all out yet. But certainly, there are some guidelines that we can put in place to get the facilities open in some capacity. You know, people are going to have to modify their events that they had planned with us,” Bracken said. “But truthfully, in some of the conversations that we've had thus far, our constituents are just happy to be able to do things with their families, even if it's at a reduced number.”

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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