NWPC Blog

How to Go Outdoors Safely During COVID-19

COVID-19 has changed everyone’s lives by requiring us to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus and readjust how we interact beyond our front doors. However, as we enter the summer and local counties begin to reopen, we know questions around the safety of leaving our homes continue to surface. The good news is that while it’s recommended that we limit travel beyond our areas, we can still enjoy local parks, activities and outdoor facilities by engaging in safe practices.

Research has shown that spending time outdoors can help boost your physical and mental health. Physical activity and a change of scenery are also two things that help us reduce quarantine stress. If you are looking to get out of the house and enjoy some much needed fresh air, we’ve compiled some basic safety guidelines supported by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make your time outdoors fun and responsible.

Read local guidelines and rules

Start by checking your state and county’s visitation guidelines before venturing to your favorite outdoor spot. From there, we recommend reading your county’s website to answer common questions about park openings, bathroom or sanitation facilities, temporary restrictions and closures that may impact your time outdoors.

Knowing the answers to these questions before making a trip will help you stay safe and allow you to bring all the necessary items for your time outdoors to be safe during the Coronavirus. It will also provide you with information on where you can go and how to have a successful day beyond your home as well. 

Follow everyday sanitation and safety measures

Keeping our communities safe beyond our front doors requires us to continue nurturing the clean practices we’ve been doing. Remember to always practice the recommended safety measures for protecting yourself and others from the Coronavirus, whether you’re inside or outside. These include: 

  • Washing your hands frequently, especially if you’ve been in contact with any surfaces.
  • If hand washing isn’t an option, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
  • Always remember to cover your coughs and sneezes when beyond your home.
  • Wear a face mask or cloth covering to help protect others. 

Consider having an outdoor kit readily available in your car or home stocked with hand sanitizer, face masks, bleach wipes, gloves or anything else that may add more protection against COVID-19. That way, you can simply grab your kit before your outdoor adventure and know you’re ready to leave your home protected. 

Practice physical distancing and stay close to home 

Traveling longer distances increases the potential of encountering COVID-19, so we recommend choosing parks or performing activities near your home to reduce your chances of interacting with someone who’s sick or coming into contact with the virus on surfaces.

When visiting parks, recreational sites, or simply walking around your neighborhood, continue maintaining the CDC’s social distancing guidelines. For outdoor recreation, the rules are consistent with those generally stipulated at the grocery store. As a reminder, and in conjunction with the advice above, best practices include: 

  • Staying 6 feet apart from others at all times while outdoors during the Coronavirus.
  • Giving people space on hiking trails or local pathways.
  • Keeping a safe distance at park picnic tables or social areas.
  • Cross the street to avoid close proximity with others on the sidewalk if you’re jogging or walking. 

To help keep yourself and others safe, avoid gatherings with people who don’t live in your household. If you’re visiting a park, prepare for limited access to public restrooms and no functional water fountains. 

Safe outdoor activities you can do during the Coronavirus

Getting outdoors is crucial to improving your mental and physical well-being. The good news? There are plenty of outdoor activities you can do safely during the Coronavirus. For most, many of the activities we enjoyed before the pandemic are safe to do when practicing the social distancing guidelines above. To help you enjoy the great outdoors, here are a few of our favorite outdoor activities to do while we manage the pandemic together: 

  • Explore your area to discover the natural beauty in your area
  • Take a walk in nature or go for a hike
  • Go for a bike ride 
  • Camp in your backyard
  • Go for a run 
  • Visit a local park 

How to know when to stay home during COVID-19

If you are feeling ill and have symptoms related to the Coronavirus, have tested positive for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone who tested positive, stay home and continue following the CDC’s advice on how to protect your well-being. If you are unsure about your symptoms, schedule a Telehealth visit with your health practitioner. 

Seek health advice from Northwest Primary Care

As a leading healthcare voice in the Portland metro area, NWPC is here to support you during COVID-19 and beyond. From healthy lifestyle tips to professional patient care, our practitioners can help answer your questions and meet your healthcare needs. Call and schedule an appointment with one of our practitioners today.