Warm temperatures traditionally mean an increase in the number of individuals traveling from nearby counties and communities to visit Indian Lake and take advantage of the numerous outdoor recreational opportunities the lake presents.
But as Logan County grapples with a global pandemic and all the stay-at-home orders and closures associated with COVID-19, some local residents have begun to express concern over the influx of seasonal visitors and day-trippers out to spend a sun-splashed spring afternoon fishing or walking trails around the lake.
The Logan County Health District received multiple emails from permanent residents concerned about a perceived lack of adherence to social distancing protocols and stay-at-home orders, especially from visitors and part-time residents.
“This past weekend was terrifying,” Russells Point resident Sandee Mentrup wrote in a message to the LCHD. “We had traffic jams, golf carts, (and) bicyclists so bad that it looked like a holiday weekend.
“Many have secondary homes, not permanent residences and are coming with extended family and friends. Please, the residents are begging you to limit access to all non-primary housing and recreation.”
Logan County Health Commissioner Boyd Hoddinott reported Sunday the health district was aware of the concerns, but he said the issue of individuals visiting their second home is outside the health district’s jurisdiction and beyond its control.
“Now if businesses aren’t enforcing social distancing or at least making it easy, we have some authority,” the health commissioner related. “Only the Director of the Ohio Department of Health could issue a no movement order that could be enforceable.”
Law enforcement has increased its patrols around Indian Lake in recent weeks to help enforce the stay-at-home order and social-distancing protocols.
Troopers from the Ohio State Highway Patrol have been a constant presence along the Indian Lake State Park grounds, and deputies from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office and Russells Point and Washington Township police have patrolled areas around Russells Point, Lakeview and the Indian Lake islands.
About 7:15 p.m. Sunday, sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Holiday Shores Mobile Home Park in response to a large number of people gathered at the residence. The homeowner was reminded of social distancing protocols and a deputy forced the crowd to disperse.
The mandated stay-at-home order does permit maintenance of property, and some part-time residents were out this weekend mowing lawns and pulling weeds.
Logan County Health District now has five confirmed cases of COVID-19. The stay-at-home order remains in effect through May 1.
Seasonal visitors are encouraged to pack essentials and bring necessary items with them to help reduce over-crowding in grocery stores, as well as to conserve stock of goods like cleaning supplies and toilet paper that are currently in short supply in some places.