It's been months of quarantine for the majority of us and with summer just around the corner, the urge to do normal summertime activities is very REAL. But what summer outings are safe for you and your family?
The good news–you can still soak up the sun, swim in the ocean, go camping, party with friends, and hang out with family. In some cities, you can even enjoy what was once a commonplace activity like shopping, getting a haircut, or eating at a restaurant.
However, throughout the summer months it's essential for you to recognize the following four things:
- There's no such thing as a zero-risk outing. Every summer activity you participate in, every errand you run, and every public space you enter, comes with its own set of risks.
- Both your personal risk and your family's risk depends on age, health, the prevalence of the virus in your area, and the safety precautions taken during any of these activities. It’s up to you to determine what level of risk is appropriate.
- As a rule of thumb, the more time you spend in a public space, the more people you interact with, and the closer you are to any infected people, the higher your risk.
- You're safest at home, but if you would like to see friends or family this summer, do so outside. When you're outdoors, it’s harder for virus to become concentrated.
So what outdoor activities are the safest to partake in this summer?
According to various infectious disease and public health experts in The Guardian's article How to Have a Low-Risk Coronavirus Summer, walking, running, and biking together are all relatively low risk activities when meeting up with people outside. But context is everything. If you're biking alone in a not-so-crowded area, you don't need to wear a mask; but if you're going for a walk in a busy neighborhood, wear a mask. These experts also discuss the risks associated with weekend traveling, using a friend's bathroom, and visiting elderly grandparents.
Additionally, this past week NPR asked a panel of infectious disease and public health experts to rate the risk of 14 common summer activities. Here are the rankings:
- A BYOB backyard gathering with one other household: low to medium risk
- Eating indoors at a restaurant: medium to high risk
- Attending a religious service indoors: high risk
- Spending the day at a popular beach or pool: low risk
- An outdoor celebration such as a wedding with more than 10 guests: medium to high risk
- Using a public restroom: low to medium risk
- Letting a friend use your bathroom: low risk
- Going to a vacation house with another family: low risk
- Staying at a hotel: low to medium risk
- Getting a haircut: medium to high risk
- Going shopping at a mall: risk varies
- Going to a nightclub: high risk
- Going camping: low risk
- Exercising outdoors: low risk
For more in depth information on these activities and their associated risks, please read NPR's From Camping To Dining Out: Here's How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities.
Lastly, whether you’re a traveler, a swimmer, or you just want to beat the summer heat, the CDC has provided eight practical tips for safe and healthy summertime play. Follow these guidelines and you’ll have a safer, more enjoyable, worry-ish free summer.
Bottom line, nothing is totally risk free this summer. All you can do is help to mitigate or reduce the risk.
Have fun soaking up the sun and be safe!
Written by Jessica Noyes, Communications Coordinator, WMA