Getting outdoors is a favourite pastime of adults and children alike. But with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, parents are faced with navigating how to enjoy being outside while protecting their family’s health. Consider this your “cheat sheet” for safer outdoor fun!
Can COVID-19 spread outdoors?
Unfortunately, yes. COVID-19 can spread anywhere where you may come into close contact with an infected person. Remember, the virus spreads mainly via respiratory droplets that are released from an infected person through coughing, sneezing, talking or singing – which then get into the mouth, nose or eyes of people who are nearby. Short-range airborne (or aerosol) transmission may also be possible, particularly in poorly ventilated, crowded indoor places. People may also become infected by touching their mouth, nose or eyes, after touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.
Based on this and what we know about the virus, the risk of transmission is considered much lower outdoors compared to enclosed indoor spaces, but what is also important are the precautions people are taking – keeping at least one metre away from each other, wearing a fabric mask near others, frequently washing hands and self-checking for any COVID-19 symptoms before going out.
How can my family safely spend time outside together?
Staying physically active is one of the best ways every member of the family can keep their minds and bodies healthy. By taking some key steps, you can help your family minimize the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
- When planning outings, try to avoid peak times and crowded settings and take routes that are less congested wherever possible.
- Consider packing a hand sanitizer with at least 60 per cent alcohol, disinfecting wipes, tissues, extra fabric masks and a resealable bag to store the mask while not in use (e.g. while eating or drinking).
- Before leaving the house, check to make sure all family members feel well and are symptom-free.
- Remind each other to follow key precautions while outside, such as staying at least one metre away from others, wearing a fabric mask when close to people outside your household, not touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) or the mask surface, and frequently washing or sanitizing your hands.
- If you decide to eat outside, bring your own food and utensils. If this is not possible, choose the safest food option, such as take-out rather than eating indoors. Don’t forget to wash or sanitize your hands before eating.
- Once you come home, make sure to first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.