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MORRROW - Morgan's Canoe and Outdoor Adventures is taking a hit due to the coronavirus. They're missing out on thousands of dollars while canoes, kayaks and cabins sit empty. They're trying to step up outdoor recreation across the Buckeye State.
"It’ll do families a lot of good to get out here," Morgan's co-owner Dirk Morgan said.
Coronavirus quarantine means people haven't been getting outdoors as much. Morgan said the sun might do everyone some good.
"To hear the birds chirping," Morgan said. "Skip a rock in the river. Take a short 3 mile canoe trip. We won’t even have to put you on a bus.”
He said so far this season has been memorable for all the wrong reasons.
"So far, 2020 has been a misfire," Morgan said. "We’re a seasonal business.”
Morgan said they haven't done any appreciable business since 2019, and the urgency of that means every weekend during their prime season is important. They also have 75 part-time employees across two locations.
“There’s still opportunity, but you need the right conditions when you’re in our business,” Morgan said.
The business needs good river conditions and good forecasts to still turn a profit.
“Give us a chance to open up safely," Morgan said. "We’re not asking to do it early. We need to get this season in. Some more than others, or there may not be another season in 2021. Then what will people do then?”
Morgan said they hope to see more canoes on the Little Miami soon, but in the meantime, the business is taking their plan to the governor's office.
“Just to give our plan a good look," he said. "I’ll volunteer myself and my 40 years of knowledge of outdoor recreational business to any task force the governor would want to have me join.”
His proposal to reopen businesses like his across the state on May 12 is on its way to Columbus. The plan includes steps to sanitize canoes and kayaks as well as wearing masks.
“Canoes and kayaks are almost ready-made for social distancing," Morgan said. "In a canoe you’re already 12 feet apart. In a kayak you’re by yourself."
For a business that's been open for 60 years and prides itself on safety, Morgan said they need to open soon in order to make sure they have a future.
"It’s time to make some hay," he said. "If we don’t squirrel enough nuts away, it’ll be a rough winter. There’s going to be a couple seasonal businesses that won’t see another season if we don’t open soon.”