Poor air quality changes weekend plans across metro

Skies were smoky Saturday morning as Minnesota's recently poor air quality took another dip due to wildfires burning in Canada. (FOX 9)

After a long winter, Minnesotans love to take advantage of the warm weather and spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer, but the poor air quality forced some back indoors on Saturday.

Taking a dip in the St. Louis Park Pool is a summertime tradition for Mary Ellen Nielsen.

"It seemed like a nice day to get out of the house for a few minutes and splash around," said Nielsen.

But on Saturday afternoon, she was greeted with a closed sign and a locked gate.

Management made the decision to close the pool "based on air quality advisories from the MPCA and a desire to prioritize health and safety over recreational uses," according to a city spokesperson.

The Birdhouse Eat and Drink in Robbinsdale was also forced to change its plans for the day because of the smoky air and closed its outdoor patio.

"We really value the health and well-being and welfare of the staff, so we decided it was in the best interest to close the patio because of the air quality," said beverage director Robert Schuster.

He says he's been feeling the impact of the smoke all week long.

"I have asthma, so it definitely affects me a lot...I like campfires, but not when it’s in every breath," said Schuster.

The Loring Park Art Festival couldn't move inside though. Festival director Pat Parnow has had to weather Minnesota's unpredictable weather planning events in the past, like rain, wind, heat and humidity, but the air quality wasn't on her list of things to plan for.

"Some people are wearing masks, and I suppose they are more comfortable with that," said Parnow.

The air quality alert will be in effect through Tuesday afternoon.