Ohio parks provide sigh of relief

Due to COVID-19, many citizens across the country, they have been forced to alter their daily lifestyles. Ohio has been one of the most aggressive states in establishing protocols to slow down the acceleration of the number of cases in the state, causing substantial lifestyle changes for Ohio residents.

Although Ohio placed a stay-at-home order on March 22, Gov. Mike DeWine is not denying residents the opportunity to get out of their homes by allowing trips to parks in the state. For many Ohio residents, parks are providing a sigh of relief during stressful times.

“I have been off of work for a little while now, so I have been stuck sitting at home,” said Debra Jones, who works as a hair stylist. “But coming to the park has been one of the few things that we are still able to do, so it is nice to be able to get outside and get some fresh air.”

Hinckley Reservation, a part of the Cleveland Metroparks system, has been busy since DeWine’s stay-at-home order. DeWine wanted Ohio residents to go outside and enjoy the parks during the order, as long as visitors would practice safe social distancing of at least six feet.

Residents like Jones have frequently visited Hinckley Reservation and walked the paths around Hinckley Lake. Parking lots surrounding the park are generally full and visitors have plenty of interactions passing other visitors on the path.

“Being able to come here provides an escape for the people who are off work,” Jones said. “It is nice to have some sort of distraction from all of the craziness going on right now.”

The park has several other activities other than the paths around the lake. Whether it is hiking, fishing, or kayaking on the lake, the park provides an opportunity for visitors to take a breath of fresh air and break the lulls of being forced to stay at home.

“Coming here has been the best way for me to get a workout since the gyms have been closed,” said John Bowers, a junior at Baldwin Wallace University. “I’ve run past a lot of people who’ve said the same, so it’s good we can still come here.”

Parks remaining open has created a bigger sense of community, especially in a township like Hinckley. With few options for attractions or entertainment in the township, the park has brought people together while still maintaining their social distance of six feet.

As COVID-19 continues to be a major issue in the United States, the parks in Ohio create a sense of calmness. If it were not for the parks, people like Kim Baxter aren’t sure what else they would be doing.

“I know it has only been a couple weeks, but I have been going a bit stir-crazy at home,” Baxter said. “Having some freedom at the park is what everyone needs right now.”

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