Physical activity is good for both the body and mind. As the world confronted the fallout of the COVID-19 outbreak, many people struggled to cope with the stress sparked by stay-at-home measures, school closures and job loss. Perhaps that’s why the reopening of parks was met with such joy, as people now had access to the great outdoors at a point when that access could be incredibly beneficial.
Visiting reopened parks while social distancing is not the same as it’s been in the past, and nature enthusiasts may want to consider these dos and don’ts, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to ensure their visits are safe and enjoyable.
DO stay close to home. The CDC warns that traveling long distances to visit a park may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. That’s because long trips require stops along the way, which exposes travelers to potentially contaminated surfaces.
DON’T visit parks if you’re sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19. Whether you’re sick with COVID-19 or simply not feeling well, stay home. Visit the CDC website (www. cdc.gov) for a list of COVID-19 symptoms if you suspect you have the virus or have had it in the last 14 days.
DO expect limitations on visitors. While parks have reopened, many areas have established restrictions on the number of people allowed in the park at a given time. As a result, some visitors have been turned away or asked to wait in a queue until other visitors leave. Preparing for this outcome in advance can make it less frustrating to deal with.
DON’T use playgrounds. Children may be anxious to ride on swings or climb all over jungle gyms, but the CDC continues to advise against using playgrounds. Playgrounds tend to be crowded and, as a result, they can be challenging to keep clean. In addition, young children likely won’t remember to avoid touching their faces, noses, eyes, or mouths while playing, which makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.