We are living in a world that is very different than it was just a few weeks ago. “Shelter in place,” “quarantine” and “social distancing” have become common terms used in everyday conversations. As we all continue to adapt to these realities, we are also trying to find ways to continue normalcy to our day-to-day life with family and friends.
Parks have become a major refuge in helping us cope with our new lifestyles. The great outdoors offers trails and open space where we can take a deep breath, exercise and tune out the stresses of the world for a spell. They have become a reason to get in the car and get out of the house – especially for those who are working and schooling at home.
As you and your family make plans to visit parks, it is good to stay mindful that something bigger than all of us is going on. That, even though we are outside in the open air, there are steps that need to be taken to keep you and your loved ones healthy. As parks grow in popularity, with it comes an increase in visitors, which means we all have to be prepared for potential interactions with others.
Social Distancing: Remember that social distancing is key. Whether you are alone or with family, be sure that you maintain the 6-feet rule that has been established. It still applies when outside to help reduce the likelihood of the virus jumping from person to person through the air. Right now, everyone should be limiting close contact, both indoors and outdoors, to only those whom they share a household with. It is also helpful to limit your group size as much as possible.
Be Mindful: While enjoying a park, be careful working your way through or past any person or persons that may be in motion or standing. Look ahead and have a plan of action as you maneuver around. Also, pay attention to anyone that may be coughing or sneezing as to avoid any airborne particles. Some may choose to wear a mask outdoors to reduce any risk.
Open Spaces: It’s a good idea to visit wider trails and more open spaces where you are able to maintain that 6-foot distance or more. Spacing cars in the parking is another good rule of thumb as to reduce potential close interaction with others.
The outdoors is our escape, especially in the times we live in. By taking extra steps and being mindful, your park experiences will continue to be healthy and enjoyable. Remember, social distancing is key!
Kimberly Whitton, Public Engagement Coordinator