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Safe options available for those looking to get out of the house

DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY/dewayne@mcnews.online

MONTGOMERY COUNTY – The streets of Montgomery County sit empty most of the time as residents do their part to “flatten the curve” during the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t activities that offer a safe respite from this difficult time we are facing.

Social media is beginning to reflect the restlessness people are feeling while staying at home. School closures have been extended through April 16 and many businesses have closed their doors and are asking their employees to stay home. While social distancing is a necessary step in fighting the spread of the virus, there are things we can do that allow us to escape the confines of our homes.

For those looking for an opportunity to get out of the house you can begin by visiting one of our local restaurants for a meal to go.

As of press time, all Montgomery County restaurants continue to serve meals. While all eating establishments have closed their dining areas to customers, they continue to fill take out orders. Many are providing curbside service to further protect their customers and their employees from unnecessary exposure to the virus.

There are several locations around the area where a family, or an individual can have an impromptu picnic. The Montgomery County Courthouse lawn has several picnic tables available to the public. They are conveniently located near many of the eating establishments in Mount Ida. If you are afraid you might get wet, the city park  located on Luzerne Street is home to a covered pavilion filled with picnic tables.

In Norman you can grab a bite to eat at McCarter Mart and  then make your way to the city park. If one can’t find a picnic table available then you can always bring a blanket and picnic the old fashion way.

Just remember to keep a safe distance from others when you are looking for that perfect picnic location.

For those who may not be ready to leave the house businesses like Bluebell Cafe and Country Store and El Diamante, have added a delivery service to their list of dining out options. They join Bamboo Palace who offered home delivery even before the pandemic crisis.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers announced last week that they were closing all of their campgrounds and facilities. While this limits your ability to stay while enjoying the great outdoors, it doesn’t prevent you from enjoying some fresh air.

Montgomery County is home to three great trails that offer people an opportunity to get some exercise while staying away from town. The Ouachita, Womble and LOVIT trails have several access points throughout the county with trail heads offering ample parking for trail hikers and mountain bikers.

Arkansas State Parks have closed some visitor centers and facilities, but their campgrounds remain open. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission waived fishing permit requirements through March 29 to allow easier access to fishing during this difficult time. Many U.S. Forest Service areas are open to public access when weather conditions allow.

While we all do our part to curb the spread of COVID-19 most can still leave our homes and find plenty to do while we wait for the danger to pass. Just remember to do so with caution.

Keep at least six feet from anybody not in your household.

Frequently wash your hands with soap and water.

Wipe surfaces with alcohol, or other sanitizing agents before use.

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