As the weather gets warmer and the sun shines brighter, many of us are drawn to the outdoors. Especially during a time when visiting other places is impossible or unsafe, nature is one space we can find respite and relief.
Even when we’re outside, however, it’s important to do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This means practicing social distancing, avoiding group gatherings and more.
How to prepare for your visit to the parks
- Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands before you go to the parks, and bring hand sanitizer with you in case you need it.
- Prepare for no bathrooms. Restrooms are now closed, so make sure to time your visit accordingly and prepare before you visit any of our local parks.
- Bring food and water. Must buildings that would normally sell snacks are closed, and drinking fountains are no longer operating. Make sure to pack a snack and a water bottle if you’ll need it!
- Take a trash bag. If you anticipate needing to throw anything away, like snack wrappers or dog bags, please bring a bag to carry it out of the parks.
- Check what’s open and closed. Before you go venturing to visit local parks, check out the city’s COVID-19 webpage to know what’s open and what’s closed.
Important things to remember when visiting the parks
- Don’t gather in groups. It’s no fun to have to stay away from friends and others, but right now, it’s the best way to protect the health and safety of our community. Instead of gathering in large groups, try using the parks for some personal quiet time.
- Keep your distance. Stay at least 6 feet away from others at all times. This applies whether you’re riding your bike, walking on a trail or taking your dog to the off-leash area.
- Announce your presence. Whether you’re out for a hike or riding your bike, let people know you’re going to pass them by ringing your bell or saying “on your left” loudly. This gives everyone enough time to move out of the way to maintain proper distance.
- Walk single file when passing. If you’re walking with another person, move to a single-file line when you cross paths with others so you can keep a full 6 feet between you.
- Take your trash with you. Help keep the parks clean by taking all of your trash – including dog bags – out of the parks with you.
- Stay home if you feel sick. If you don’t feel well, have a fever or have symptoms consistent with a respiratory illness, stay home.
- Cover your mouth and nose. If you have to sneeze or cough, follow the CDC’s guidelines by coughing or sneezing into a tissue or your elbow instead of your hands.
Now more than ever, parks play an important role in our lives. They give us room to exercise and stay healthy, and they give space to simply breathe fresh air and find peace during uncertain times. Together, we can help ensure that they remain safe places for everyone.