Summertime is here! Warm days and nights, ice cream, grilling, flip flops… this season is a great time to enjoy. Although summer 2020 will not look like any summer we’ve seen before; there are many summertime activities you can enjoy even during a worldwide pandemic. The key is knowing what’s safe and taking the recommended steps to reduce your risk while you’re out there soaking up some summer fun!
So what are some summer activities that save you money and are safe to do right now?
Go for a hike/camping
The beach vacation that you planned probably isn’t a great idea right now but you can still get out of town. Book a cabin. Go for a hike. Get in touch with nature! The American Hiking Society put together a pretty useful FAQ for hiking in a world with COVID-19. (https://americanhiking.org)
Set up a garden party/picnic
Call up your friends, bring a blanket, prepare some food and set up a socially distanced gathering where everyone has their own individual picnics. It’s a great way to see some faces you haven’t seen in a while.
Host an outside Zoom party
Cook up some food, pour yourself drinks, put on some good music and take your laptop outside for a Zoom party. Have your friends do the same.
An outdoor activity such as summer gardening can be a safe and fun way to bond with family. Stick to weeding, trimming and pruning the plants in your own yard rather than visiting a community garden.
Go for a swim
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through water. Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of pools should kill the virus. It’s safe to use swimming pools as long as you stay at least 6 feet from others and avoid large gatherings of more than 10 people.
Drive-in to the movies
Drive-in theaters are making a comeback with new outdoor venues popping up all over the country. It’s a great way to get off the couch and change things up, and ticket prices are generally considerably less than a traditional movie theatre ticket. So when Netflix gets old, pack up the family car with some blankets, pillows and your favorite concessions, and head to the nearest drive-in for a double feature under the summer stars.
Play outdoor games with the kids
Join your kids outside for a game of hide-and-seek, plan a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood, or create an obstacle course with toys and games from your house. Do something simple like watching the birds and butterflies or plan an art show by challenging your children to draw a picture and then make it come alive with materials from the backyard.
Outdoor activities to avoid
Skip group sports, like basketball, volleyball and flag football, even if you’re planning to play with people you know, a group of relatives, friends or neighbors. Team sports should be avoided right now because they involve gathering players and also often spectators in one place. Also keep in mind if you have kids, playgrounds may seem like a good choice, but it’s best to avoid them for now. The virus may be living on high-touch surfaces, such as slides and swings.
We know that most of the people who have been sick from COVID-19 were in confined spaces. According to a preprint study published April 7, 2020, in medRxiv (https://www.medrxiv.org) that examined the spread of the virus in China, only 1 case out of 7,324 was connected to outdoor transmission.
However, even on a beautiful summer day, everyone should continue to take all the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (https://www.cdc.gov) which includes social distancing, hand-washing, and using face coverings to help prevent the numbers of cases from increasing and people getting infected.