Visitors pack up and leave Mason’s Great Wolf Lodge as closures affect travel

One of southwest Ohio’s largest and most popular hotels saw guests forced to cut their stays short Sunday over concerns about the spreading COVID-19 virus.

The massive Great Wolf Lodge, indoor water park resort and conference center in Warren County’s Mason community – next to Kings Island – began closing down Sunday afternoon as a precaution, said hotel officials.

And across the region some organizations spent Sunday taking other preventive measures to help battle the growing number of infections reported locally and statewide.

Since it opened in 2006, the lodge, which recently finished $8 million in upgrades and renovations, has attracted more than five million guests.

Great Wolf’s 400 rooms, giant indoor water park and conference center saw some disappointed families pack up and leave hours after hotel officials said they will close down through April 1.

That didn’t surprise Hannah Park of Indianapolis, who was loading her car after checking out of the hotel.

“I think it’s a good decision … to take some of the precautions necessary. But I think the kids I heard (in the hotel) were definitely bummed,” said Park.

Officials at the national hotel chain issued a statement Saturday saying it can’t be helped.

“We have had no reported positive COVID-19 cases within our guest … community,” they said in a statement. “However, with the recent focus from federal and state government officials on restricting large gatherings, we believe it is in the best interest of our guests and pack members to temporarily close all of our resorts and plan to re-open on April 2.”

“In response to COVID-19 we implemented enhanced sanitation measures at our resorts and provided CDC updates stating there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through the use of pools or hot tubs.

“This is an unprecedented and challenging time, and we are very appreciative of the overwhelming support from families, who enjoy spending time together at our resort.”

Kate Hebmer, from Louisville, said she was sympathetic of the resort’s unprecedented action.

“I think they are making the right decision and they are taking care of their customers,” said Hebmer. “Keeping my family safe, we’ll probably stay (home) from here on.”

Another popular Greater Cincinnati attraction, the Cincinnati Zoo, also saw officials there close the attraction to the public until further notice.

Sunday brings other area changes

Officials at Cincinnati Children’s have announced visitation at its campuses in Liberty Twp. and Cincinnati will be restricted beginning Monday.

“At that time, inpatients will be limited to two people visiting—inclusive of parents. No siblings or visitors under 18, except for parent/guardians, will be allowed while these guidelines are in place,” according to a statement.

“Exceptions will be made for patients in end-of-life care on an individual basis. Outpatients will be restricted to two people accompanying them on campus.

“We are sorry for any hardship this places on families, but keeping patients safe must be our number-one priority.”

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