Summer is finally here and most of us who have been quarantined for months are itching to get outside and enjoy summer activities. But the constant threat of contracting or spreading COVID-19 is still looming over us. Though some places are beginning to reopen, the virus is not gone and there are still important safety guidelines that you should keep in mind. 

As a general rule, the more time that you spend in close spaces with multiple people, the higher your risk for contracting COVID-19. So, before you venture out, consider a few things: 

  • How many people will be there? 
  • Can you keep at least 6 feet between you and the other people in your party? 
  • Will everyone be wearing masks? 
  • How long will you be around everyone?  

Low Risk Activities

Staying physically active is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Visiting parks, trails and other open outdoor areas are great ways to stay active while still staying six feet apart. However, before going out, the CDC recommends choosing to visit less popular outdoor areas, where there is limited sharing of items. So, though playgrounds, beaches and public pools are reopening, these are still areas of greater risk. It may also be a good idea to check with the facility you are visiting to see if public restrooms are available and how often they are cleaned and disinfected.

Outdoor exercising is another safe way to blow off steam. Running is low risk as long as you are aware of your surroundings and keep off crowded paths. Sports like golf or tennis are some other great choices because there is no physical contact. The CDC still recommends avoiding sports like soccer, football or basketball where you may come in close contact with an infected, asymptomatic individual. 

Picnics and backyard meet-ups are low risk due to being outdoors and able to space out so everyone can maintain social distancing and bring their own serving ware, food and beverages. Use visual reminders, like signs or chair arrangements to help remind you to keep a safe space from others. 

Looking to take a trip? Any travel can be risky, but if you are going stir crazy at home, experts agree that camping as one of the less risky things you can do. Since you’re outdoors and isolated there is less risk of infection. Traveling to your personal vacation home with just your family or a selected group that has been quarantining can also be a good option if outdoor living is not your thing. 

Medium Risk Activities

Going out to eat is something that many of us enjoy and are excited to be able to do again. As businesses reopen, many restaurants are taking precautions to be able to serve patrons with reduced risk of infection. In addition, many restaurants are switching to virtual menus and single-use condiments to prevent sharing surfaces that may spread the disease. Before going out to eat, ensure that the restaurant is spacing out seating, requiring servers to wear masks and offering easy access to hand-washing stations. Indoor dining has a higher risk than outdoor dining, so check to see if eating outdoors is an option at your favorite spot. 

High Risk Activities

There are still a bunch of activities that you should probably avoid. It is still a risky choice to go to the bar or out to a dance club.  Instead, try a brewery with outdoor seating or host a socially-distanced dance party in your backyard. Any activity with a large crowd of people drinking can be dangerous as alcohol lowers inhibitions and people can forget about maintaining social distance. In fact, the more people that are in one space, the more likely someone is infected, so crowded places like malls should still be avoided as well. Public transportation also offers a social distancing challenge, so travel should be limited to essential only. 

No matter what you choose to do, before going out it is a good idea to consult the CDC tracker. Here you can get the most up-to-date information about your area. Everyone should continue to practice everyday prevention. In addition, it is always important to keep a cloth face covering, tissues, and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol on hand at all times.

For more information about what is high and low risk, consult the CDC guidelines. 

Better Breathers Club | Atrium Health: Cabarrus
Concord, NC | Mar 26, 2020
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Online, MD | Sep 14, 2020