MORROW, Ohio — In any other year, Labor Day would signal the end of the summer season for most outdoor-themed businesses. With the pandemic happening and few other entertainment options, the season may last a bit longer.
“This isn’t the perfect season we would’ve dreamed of,” Dirk Morgan of Morgan’s Outdoor Adventures said.
The pandemic forced them to change their business model.
"People are working from home; they can be more flexible with their schedules,” Morgan said. “We're seeing more people come Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,"
He said COVID-19 caused a lot of people to take to the water on their own.
“We’re thinking more about COVID,” Morgan said. “When we’re on the water, we can’t forget about the basics of water safety.”
He said he knows how quickly things can change.
“We’ve seen from a recent tragedy,” Morgan said. “Even in shallower water, four to six feet, if you’re not familiar with water, it can be dangerous.”
Twenty-year-old Pedro Rodriguez died at East Fork Lake Monday morning. People on the shore formed a chain to get him to safety.
“When they're working on him they try to do their best, they try to get a pulse back, you know, to bring him back to life, but you never can tell how it's going to turn out,” said Lt. Michael Sterwerf with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The tragedy comes as a reminder for those looking to get away.
“They can't forget about safety,” Morgan said. “When you go out on the river, lake or stream, you need to wear a life jacket."
He said the season has been difficult, but hopes they can end on a high note, so water-goers can paddle ahead safely.
“Before we know it – COVID or not COVID – it's going to be winter, and we'll be back inside again,” Morgan said. “We'll be back to wishing we had these beautiful days like we have right now."