No doubt about it; coronavirus has lasted longer than anyone expected, but life is slowly, but surely starting to get back to “normal.” As outdoor dining, beaches, and parks are starting to re-open, it’s hard to figure out how to take advantage of these re-openings safely. Here are a few ways to enjoy your summer while without worrying. 

Hiking

Ahh, the great outdoors! If you love spending your summer enjoying nature, there are plenty of state parks and reservations where you can take in the views and have that change of scenery you’ve been craving.  And you can enjoy it with the peace of mind knowing that the odds of catching COVID outdoors are very small because the air circulates and dilutes the virus. In addition, this is an activity that does not require close contact with others or touching anything. Just remember to wear your mask and keep a respectful distance from others (6 feet or more.), and try to keep the group you go with as small as possible.

 

Shoes overlooking lake and mountains

 

 

Biking

This is another low-risk, outdoor activity. And if public transportation continues to be a risk, biking can actually be a safe way to get from Point A to Point B and has been shown to be beneficial for both physical and mental health, supporting your immune system while also decreasing levels of anxiety and depression (both very important during a global pandemic!) However, keep in mind that since you’re exerting energy, you’re breathing deeper harder than usual, so wear a mask in order to contain your breath and mitigate the risk of spreading the virus to others around you. While the mask may make it slightly harder for you to put your pedal to the metal, finding one with thinner, synthetic and more breathable fabrics can make a huge difference.

Two people riding bikes far feet apart

 

Outdoor Socially Distant Gatherings

Missing your friends and family? Haven’t seen them in months? Take advantage of the summer weather to see them outdoors. Take a socially distant walk with them. You can still hear each other and have a quality conversation even if you stay 6 feet apart from each other.

Have a gathering in someone’s backyard. Keep all chairs at least 6 feet apart and use separate utensils and dishes. And if you have to pass the salt? The CDC says that the change of catching it from a surface is very low if everyone washes their hands before eating and it is disinfected between uses.

These gatherings are still safer with smaller groups, especially if all the guests live within the same town or community. Even though you can’t see everybody you want to see at once, it’s still better than zoom!

 

Group of women chatting while sitting on a bench

Outdoor Dining

More and more restaurants are moving tables outdoors and closing off full sections of streets to do so.  It looks like a party, and of course you want to join, but is it safe to do so? While it is riskier than the other activities above, many restaurants have taken precautions, such as placing the tables at least six feet apart, serving condiments in individual containers, bringing freshly sanitized silverware with your meal, and limiting the party size (six or fewer.) Note: since potentially virus-carrying bacteria is spread through the air via saliva (i.e. talking), be respectful to your servers and wear your mask as you order your food and when they serve your food. That way, less of it will spread, and they will be less likely to catch anything. In addition, try to minimize the time they have to spend at your table by deciding what you want to order by the time they arrive. Doing this will also be less risky for you because the more quickly you order and finish your meal, the less time you spend at the restaurant.

Woman sitting at outdoor restaurant by water

This may not be the summer you were hoping for, but you don’t have to spend it stuck at home. Take advantage of the warmer weather to enjoy yourself, but make sure to keep your mask on, and stay home if you’re feeling sick.