As warm weather approaches and restrictions around Oregon lessen, a lot of us are wondering how to best stay healthy and safe. Gyms are off-limits, so excercise outdoors sounds super appealing… But what’s okay when going outside during quarantine, and what’s not?
Do: Bring a mask
You may be in the fresh air, but that doesn’t mean you should lessen your safety precautions. Even if you don’t wear it the entire time, keep your mask on in any high-traffic areas, like parking lots, trailheads, or spaces where more than 25 people are visible.
Don’t: Forget sanitizer when going outside during quarantine
With so much attention on masks, it’s easy to forget the original protectant against virus germs: sanitizer. If you’re picnic’ing or taking the kids to the park, bring wipes to clean any shared surfaces. Bring hand sanitizer in case you’ll need to use a park bathroom. If you’re running or not touching surfaces, make sure to wash your hands before and after you return home!
Do: Hang with your buds!
Assuming everyone has been well and quarantined, you can get a group of ten or less folks together at a park for a good (sorta) old-fashioned hang. Just make sure to distance by 6 feet. BYOB: bring your own blankets or camp chairs, if that’s more comfortable.
Even taking a walk side-by-side with a friend is okay: a Chinese study showed only one case of coronavirus contracted from outdoor interactions out of 318 studied.
Don’t: share snacks or drinks!
Togetherness does not mean family-style meals. Everyone should bring their own snacks and drinks (those who have quarantined together can share). The good news is that according to the Oregon Health Authority, “there is no evidence that human or animal food—or food packaging is associated with the transmission of COVID-19.”
If you’re not sure how to turn going outside during quarantine into a hang, why not make it a dinner party affair?
Our a la carte meals are individually packed, so everyone can pick their faves. Heat before you leave home, pack them in your reusable bag, and boom: gourmet á la carte dining in the new world order.
Do: look for little known hiking spots
Here in Portland, popular, central parks like the Waterfront or Mount Tabor may be tempting, but your best bet for safety is to find a lesser-known park. Click past the 2nd page of Google, or search maps for areas in Portland’s suburbs and sleeper communities. Some of our faves: the Marquam trails or these poppin’ spots east of the city.
Don’t: go unprepared for a hike
If you are headed to a place you haven’t been before, do your research.
First: are the facilities open? You don’t want to get a ticket for not following the rules.
Second: do you have a map of your trail? And if it’s on your phone, do you have it saved in case you don’t have service?
Third: do you have water, snacks and all your other supplies? Don’t let the extra steps of going outside during quarantine distract you from the regular precautions you’d take!
Do: keep an eye on the weather
Late Spring and early summer is a tempestuous time for rain in the PNW. It can be sunny in East Portland and hailing on the western banks of the Willamette. Check weather by neighborhood or the zip code instead of assuming it’s the same all over the region.
Don’t: go at peak hours
Early birds get the worm when it comes to feeling safe in shared outdoor spaces. Now that we have 14 hours of sunlight, try to get outdoors when everyone else is sleeping… Not your style? After the lunch rush, around 1-4 p.m., is often a quieter time, and can afford the sunniest hours.
Do: be friendly and aware!
We’re all in this together, so pay attention to the precious fellow humans you see out and about. Cross the street if there’s someone else walking on a narrow sidewalk, or move to the other side. In a group? Get into single file so you don’t block anyone. Make sure you’re giving folks space in line for bathrooms or other facilities. And please: fake coughing isn’t funny– period.
Don’t: freak out if you mess up
There’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty already, so if you accidentally get too close or go for someone else at the picnic’s water bottle, don’t fret. Apologize and move on: there’s already enough to worry about!