A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Visiting parks, pools and playgrounds during COVID-19: What to know

A woman in a face mask sits on a park bench.

Follow these safety precautions before visiting your favorite park, playground or pool during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families everywhere have been spending lots of time quarantined safely indoors. But now, as temperatures heat up and public areas begin to open, many people are getting restless to resume favorite summer activities.

But before hopping in the local swimming pool or driving to your favorite hiking trail, it’s essential to take into account how your summer fun may be different this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have created a handy guide with advice on how you can enjoy your time in the Great Outdoors while still taking necessary COVID-19 safety precautions.

Before visiting your local park, pool or playground, here are some key things to consider:

Heading to a park?

  • Contact the park’s authorities before making the trip.

Whether it’s a national, state or local park contacting the people responsible for managing it is a great place to start. They can provide information about what services are available and give you key information on what types of safety measures are being followed.

  • Visit parks that are close to where you live.

The further you travel, the more chance you have of exposure. Longer-distance travel may involve stops at public places or put you in close proximity to contaminated surfaces.

  • Follow standard COVID-19 guidelines.

Practice social distancing. Wear your cloth mask as much as you can. Follow proper hand-washing techniques. Protect yourself and others from the spread of COVID-19 by taking the necessary steps to prevent COVID-19 exposure.

  • Try to avoid crowded parks.

If the park looks packed and you feel it may be hard to stay 6 feet away from others, try to find a different park or come back at a later date.

Going to the pool?

Swimming can be a great way to stay physically active during the pandemic. According to the CDC, evidence suggests that COVID-19 cannot be spread to humans via most recreational water. CDC guidance also says that proper operation and disinfection of a public pool should inactivate the virus if it is present.

You should still follow normal COVID-19 safety precautions such as social distancing at all times when visiting a public pool. If you are sick or may have recently been exposed to the virus, it is important that you stay at home to limit community spread.

Going with your child to the playground?

The CDC noted playgrounds can be especially difficult to be safe at during COVID-19 because of how crowded they can be and how tough it is to keep the surfaces clean. The SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread when children touch objects that are contaminated and proceed to touch their face.

If at a playground, it is essential that both you and your children are aware of the appropriate safety guidelines. The cleaning of surfaces and correct washing of hands is especially important while in this environment.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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