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Amid coronavirus closures, people flock to Bluff Point

Groton — Gesticulating with his walking stick toward the more than 200 cars parked at Bluff Point State Park on Sunday afternoon, David Weber said the past two days have had the largest crowds he's ever seen there.

Weber lives in New Jersey but is visiting family in Mystic for two weeks, and he comes to Bluff Point every day to walk.

"This just shows that people aren't going to be held hostage" by the coronavirus, Weber said. "They need to get out."

He was out walking with his daughter, Carly Fisher, whose 8th-grade and 11th-grade children now find themselves out of school. Fisher said they both would rather be in school "doing real work," and they want to see their friends. She is sure the coming days will see both a lot of video games and time spent outdoors.

A sunny, 50-degree weekend day, Sunday was already a nice day to be outside, but some felt an added urgency to be in nature — better than being stuck inside, but safer than many other public spaces — amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with walking, people were out Sunday horseback riding and biking.

"We're sick of being cooped up," said Leighann Kuenn, who went for a walk at Bluff Point with her husband and two kids. Her husband, Brian Kuenn, said it's better than being stuck inside on an iPad.

They taught their kids the importance of soap by doing the pepper water experiment, in which a soapy finger in a plate of peppered water causes the pepper — representing the virus — to repel.

The Kuenns run a photo and video company that specializes in weddings, and while one couple postponed, they said nobody has canceled so far. Brian was supposed to fly to Iceland this weekend, but the trip got moved to July.

The question of whether it's better to be outside came up during a virtual community forum about the coronavirus that Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton, hosted Thursday.

"Your chances of spreading are easier when you're inside, just by nature, that you're closer to people," Dr. Kevin Torres said.

"Outside it gets diluted," added Dr. Alin Bortin.

"Dilution is the solution," Somers chimed in.

e.moser@theday.com

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