Summer unofficially begins this weekend, but it doesn’t have the same feeling as usual.
It’s anybody’s guess how jammed the highways and byways will be as people head toward the same destination — somewhere fun.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this holiday weekend will be filled with people wearing facemasks, buying cheap gasoline and not traveling that far. Social distancing, apparently, is optional.
With temperatures forecast around 80 degrees and many businesses ready for customers, what this Memorial Day weekend looks like is anyone’s guess.
For John Kinnett, owner of Floating Toy in Edgerton, there are plenty of boats rented for this weekend for those looking to get back out on Lake Koshkonong. The boat rental industry was one of the first allowed to open for business during Gov. Tony Evers “Safer-at-Home” order about a month ago. But as of last week, the state Supreme Court ruling allowed most other
businesses across the state to have customers again, as well.
To keep renters safe, Kinnett said, boats are sanitized after each rental.
“We have a bunch of boats out. We sanitize the boats every day,” he said. “We have a company coming to clean the boats every day.”
Business, he said, has been good and the only concern this weekend is possible thunderstorms.
“You know in Wisconsin, they always say ‘chance of thunderstorms,’” he said.
But when you think of the start of summer, one activity comes to mind: camping.
For Shannon Moungey, Thursday was busy as she and her staff were getting ready for Friday, when most campers will arrive at Jellystone Park south of Fort Atkinson.
Campers and golfers where trickling in as staff readied the store with supplies and candy. There even was a pizza in the oven that soon would be delivered to campers at their RV, one of the options for the campground.
“There is lots of new stuff in the park. Lots of upgrades and improvements parkwide,” Moungey said.
She and Mikayla Dampier spent time Thursday afternoon filing candy jars for guests needing to satisfy their sweet tooth.
For campers, there’s miniature golf to play and giant tricycles to ride. And if you want to relax and not walk to the store, staff will not only bring pizza to you, but also firewood and ice. And keeping with the theme of safety, they don’t touch the pizza once that comes out of the oven.
There are plenty of camping sites throughout Jefferson and neighboring counties, and this area of the state even was featured in the John Candy movie “The Great Outdoors.” In the film, they were staying near Whitewater.
For campers this weekend, there are still options available.
At Jellystone Park, RVs, cabins and tents spaces were available on Thursday, but the pool is not open.
“We are social distancing,” said Shelly Skilldum, manager. “We are trying to keep every day safe.”
With the pandemic, and along with cooler weather of late, there are spaces available this weekend, she said.
“Our tents sections are usually full,” she said.
At River Bend Resort in Watertown, people will be able to get in the water as the pond is available to use, but they must bring their own flotation toys. The swimming pool, however, will remain closed.
Activities like miniature golf will be open.
For those looking to hit large golf courses this weekend, plenty of tee times remain available. Koshkonong Mounds Country Club has spots open each day, along with a fish fry Friday night at its Lake View Restaurant that will be open each day.
Jefferson Golf Course also has tee times available this weekend, and its restaurant, Neighbors Grill and Pizza, is open.
But if camping and boating are not your thing, the three-day weekend also provides opportunities for shopping. With most stores open throughout Jefferson County, buying new summer clothes can make life seem a little more normal.
The Johnson Creek Premium Outlets is one of many shopping destinations for people. The mall as a whole, as well as individual stores, underwent an extensive list of enhanced cleaning and social distancing protocols they were required to follow.
To make shoppers feel safe, health and safety measures being taken by the mall include enhanced sanitization and disinfecting, especially in high-touch areas; shopper safeguards that include making available protective masks and sanitizing wipes; hand sanitizing stations throughout the property, informational signs, pre-emptive employee health screenings, personal protective equipment for employees, and promotion and enforcement of social-distancing practices.
Waterparks are usually synonymous opening this weekend. But only one park will be open in the Waterpark Capital of the World, the Wisconsin Dells. Mount Olympus is only opening the park for people staying at its hotel. Other parks like Kalahari and Noah’s Ark plan to open in late May and June.
And for those looking to daytrip to a local winery, Cambridge Winery is open this weekend, but only for curbside pickup.
While some people might travel a short distance, others might have a holiday weekend away from others, in the comforts of their backyard with a grill and a cooler.
Welcome to a new kind of summer.