Put-in-Bay Reopening For 2020 Season Under Shadow Of COVID-19

An aerial view of Put-in-Bay's marina and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial with Kelley's Island in the far background.
An aerial view of Put-in-Bay's marina and Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial with Kelley's Island in the far background. [SF photo / Shutterstock]

The Put-in-Bay community has announced plans to reopen and the Miller Ferry will begin non-essential service starting Monday.

Friday morning, “in response to recent negative media announcements that Put-in-Bay is closed,” the community announced a meeting of its Path Forward Committee, consisting of Put-in-Bay Village Mayor Jessica Dress, Put-in-Bay Township Chairman Matt Miller, Miller Boat Line President William Market, Jet Express Owner Todd Blumensaadt, Chamber of Commerce President Caitlin Bolyard, and township Port Authority Chairman Rick Ziebarth.

Several island retail shops will open next week with new cleaning protocols beginning May 15, The group announced in a letter later in the day.

“We are following all State of Ohio and CDC COVID guidelines,” the letter sats. “Island businesses are getting ready, bringing over cleaning supplies, PPE, and installing safe guards needed to ensure your upcoming trip to Put-in-Bay is memorable and safe.”

Island transportation and essential services are also starting back up or are already open.

“The Jet-Express will start service Mid May,” the committee said. “Check Jet-Express.com for departure times. Important island businesses like the hardware, general store, post office, gas station are open.”

The group credited Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Thursday press conference with providing much-needed guidance for the island to reopen.

“We need your help to follow state recommendations and guidelines by wearing masks when requested, frequently washing your hands, and practicing social distancing,” the committee’s letter said. “For your safety, our island employees, and our island residents, following these guidelines is critical.”

Golf cart rentals can begin and village docks will open May 15. The Put-in-Bay Path Forward Committee is urging potential visitors to check with individual island businesses for reopening dates and hours of operation.

In addition to planned May 15 and May 21 openings, in accordance with state guidelines, the Put-in-Bay website includes other opening information – and a warning for visitors.

“Of course, this isn’t to say that the island you arrive on in 2020 is the same island you left in 2019,” the site says. “Island businesses, workers and residents are extremely alert to the current situation that we are all facing… please remember that the island is also home for a lot of people. You will be expected to be responsible and respectful during your visit.”

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