Photographers struggling after Metro Parks mask mandate goes into effect


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Everyone in Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks must have their face covered.

Metro Parks announced the new rule on their social media this weekend, saying this step is to protect the health and well-being of visitors and staff.

But there is one industry that’s taking a direct hit from this change.

Local photographers use the parks all year long for photoshoots and now they’re having to reevaluate their plans for the winter.

“I had to contact my clients and let them know we can’t move forward at any of the metro parks,” explained photographer Chelsie Casagrande. 

Photographers did not see it coming. Most of them had to work to change their booked sessions and make changes to their schedules, fast.

“It’s going to be a bummer,” said photographer Emily Sweeney, owner of Second Season Photography. “I would not be surprised if some of my sessions canceled because they won’t get to go where they want to go.”

No matter where you are or what you’re doing at a Metro Park, including just taking pictures, masks are now required.

“I am shocked, especially being a professional photographer,” said Carmer Hall, owner of Forget Me Knot Photography. “If you have lenses and zoom that are far enough away to where you don’t have to be within six feet.”

Casagrande, who owns Big House Photography, said all local photographers are brainstorming other locations for outdoor shoots, something very popular this time of year, but they’re coming up short. 

“They were asking where else we could go, and honestly, I don’t know anywhere else to go outdoors at this point where we could shift them to that would be safe,” she said.

Metro Parks said the reason for the mask policy was simply to keep everyone safe and the continue to keep the parks open. But for this small group of creatives, they’re now at a crossroads.

“It’s affecting business, which is a scary thing because of how much we were affected back in March and April, but I hope business will just shift instead of cancel altogether,” Casagrande said.

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