Okoboji prepares for holiday weekend amid pandemic

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 5:51 PM CDT
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We continue to see coronavirus hot-spots pop up across the nation in places like Florida, California, and Texas, but how is the pandemic impacting this Fourth of July weekend at one of the Midwest's most popular vacation destinations, Okoboji, Iowa.

As folks celebrate Independence Day, leaders in the Iowa Great Lakes region are confident people will do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Dickinson County.

While the Okoboji area has seen a relatively low number of COVID-19 cases compared to other destination locations throughout the nation, the largest spike in Dickinson County came after Memorial Day, when cases jumped significantly in the first few weeks of June.

This caused Arnold's Park Amusement Park to close down, and some businesses to take preventative measures.

"We were seeing some numbers going up at that time, and we've seen those level off a bit now in the area, so we made the decision to open up, with masks," Paul Plumb, Arnold's Park Amusement Park Marketing Director, said.

Since then, city leaders have been strongly encouraging local residents as well as businesses to adhere to CDC guidelines, and are eager to welcome in visitors to celebrate the holiday.

"We're Midwesterners, we're responsible people, everyone's going to do their part," Arnold's Park City Councilor Matt Richter, said. "With everybody working together and doing their part, we're going to have a positive summer in the Iowa Great Lakes."

As a safety measure, Okoboji Tourism Director Rebecca Peters says, some summer events have been canceled. However, fireworks will still take place this Friday and Saturday night, along with every upcoming Saturday night through Labor Day weekend.

"People are able to enjoy all the experiences that they've always been able to love, and do, while they are in Okoboji," Peters said. "There are definitely precautions that are being taken, but that's not going to stop the fun... we are so lucky to have this huge beautiful lake, and that is a great place to social distance and spend time with your family"

Dickinson County has reported 249 total cases of COVID-19, about 35 of them have come in the last week.

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