With June here and temperatures nearing 90 degrees, Pittsburghers are turning their thoughts to summer.
For several residents, hotter months and the end of school means it’s time to travel. For others, though, June, July and August offer the opportunity to enjoy local attractions — even those in the backyard.
Aviva Swedarsky said she and her family don’t have any exotic plans for summer 2022, but with so many open spaces and popular amenities nearby, they plan to make the most of Kennywood, Sandcastle and Moraine State Park. Western Pennsylvania has so many great things to offer people of all ages, Swedarsky said.
Although she and her family are looking forward to beating the heat in neighboring parks and lakes, they have a new means of staying cool this summer: They recently installed an above-ground pool in their backyard.
“It all started because someone gave us a pool, and it turned out that it had lots of holes in it,” Swedarsky said. “We had to throw it out, but once we got our hopes up we decided to buy another one.”
With Swedarsky and her husband both working throughout the day, the 10-foot-by-16-foot pool is a perfect place for their kids to lounge during long summer afternoons, she added.
Squirrel Hill resident Dr. Robert Davis is also looking forward to the summer and said his plans involve visiting Cancun with his wife and potentially taking a long weekend with his family.
Davis isn’t alone.
More than 80% of Americans plan to travel this summer — a 19% increase from this time last year — according to a survey from The Vacationer. For most people, the survey noted, COVID concerns are no longer a reason to stay home.
Davis acknowledged recent jumps in COVID-positive rates — on May 10, the seven-day average in Allegheny County was 41 cases; by May 31, the seven-day average rose to 605, according to The New York Times — but said he won’t the let pandemic dictate every aspect of his life.
“I’m still masking at work,” he said, “but I feel like I’m doing things I want in the community, and I’m not living in fear.”
Moussia Kohanbash agreed, saying her family has already tested positive for COVID, and that they feel “protected” as summer comes along.
Kohanbash said she understands that those at risk may be concerned about traveling to heavily populated areas, but encouraged people to consider more remote destinations, or perhaps renting a cabin, if they’re looking to get away.
Smadar Parness said she’s reached a point where she feels she must return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
“Even though there is a deterioration in the situation and cases are going up, we can’t just sit at home doing nothing,” she said. “We can take some precautions, and hopefully we’ll be OK.”
With family in New York and Chicago, the Parnesses may be traveling both east and west this summer.
Parness said she still masks when shopping indoors in Pittsburgh, and will likely mask indoors while traveling, but is “not concerned about outdoors.”
Dr. Sheila Ghanooni-Posin plans on spending plenty of time outside this summer, especially when visiting Ocean City, Maryland.
Ghanooni-Posin doesn’t swim in the ocean but said she enjoys walking along the beach and riding her bike nearby. After such a disruptive couple of years, she said, she hopes more people can experience the joy of travel.
For those thinking about going away this summer, “my advice is always go for it,” she said. “Do something for yourselves. Do something for your families, your kids. Show them family time. Show them love. Show them support. Show them that we are getting through this.” PJC
Adam Reinherz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.