As the weather warms up and some states relax certain restrictions, you may ask yourself how you can enjoy going outside while remaining safe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided information and safety guidelines to remain safe while visiting parks and other recreational facilities. Ultimately the best protection remains staying home and socially distancing, but if you do decide to take a visit to a local park or trail it is best that you know the information provided to stay as safe as possible.
The CDC acknowledges that staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy. Here is the information the CDC has given us so far on how to stay safe:
On Visiting Parks
Stay near home. The CDC recommends that if you are visiting a park make sure it is one that is close to your home. Traveling further distances requires you to stop along the way and raises the possibility of being in close contact with others.
Prepare properly. State or local parks will be open if the state and local authorities decide so. National parks will be open on a park-by-park basis. The CDC recommends checking online if your park is open before going and seeing where the closest bathroom facilities and concessions are since many will be closed. Bring the necessary food, drink, and face protection required.
Practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from others and take other steps to prevent COVID-19. Cover any coughs and sneezes and wash your hands often. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if no soap and water is available.
Using Swimming Pools
The CDC states, “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the water. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of pools should kill COVID-19.” They claim that if you are not sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 then it is safe to use swimming pools if social distancing steps are taken.
The CDC says to NOT
- Visit any parks if you are sick with any symptoms or were recently exposed to COVID-19.
- Try to avoid crowded parks and do not use playgrounds. They state, “It can be challenging to keep surfaces clean and disinfected. The virus can spread when young children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their hands to their eyes, nose, or mouth.”
- They also advise against participating in organized sports or activities.
- Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.