HomeCoronaVirusOpinion: Enjoy the outdoors while still being safe

Opinion: Enjoy the outdoors while still being safe

As of July 2020, many government restrictions related to coronavirus are being lifted, like the stay-at-home order. However, COVID-19 still has a widespread impact on our daily lives. We need to be mindful of our personal health, and that of others, to stop the spread of this disease.

This summer may not be a typical one, but as long as we adhere to social distancing and behave responsibly, we can still enjoy the warm weather and our time at home. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind, and remember to always check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website if you have any further questions.

The requirements for beaches differ from state to state and town to town. Many beaches are now limiting the amount of people on the beach and still require patrons to stay six feet apart. Others allow beach access for running, walking and swimming, but no sunbathing.  Some beaches do require wearing a mask. Before planning a trip to the beach, do an online search for their COVID-19 guidelines, and make sure you are prepared to follow social distancing and wear PPE. This also applies to parks, recreation areas and hiking trails. No matter where you spend your time outdoors, you will be much safer if you wear a mask and supply your own food and beverages.

Local pools will be opening, which presents another set of concerns. The CDC recommends that you wash your hands often before entering the pool, and after you exit. Always wear face coverings while not in the pool, and whenever distancing is not an option. Finally, all owners and managers are advised to provide social distancing between chairs.

Above all, work together to enjoy the outdoors while still being safe. Right now, there’s no safer place than your own backyard, so try playing a game together as a family, such as tag or kickball. If you’re able to cook outdoors, get the whole family to help prepare the meal and make it a festive occasion. Middlesex County’s website has guidelines on how to safely enjoy our parks and outdoor spaces, and to have fun from home. For more information, visit https://discovermiddlesex.com/covid19/.

Please stay safe, and have patience and consideration for each other. Together, we can work towards a better future.

Ronald G. Rios is the director of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He writes the occasional column for Newspaper Media Group.

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