Before you head outdoors make sure you know how to recreate responsibly

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We’re entering the height of summer and with it comes some of the best weather to hike, float, swim and bike outdoors. Meanwhile, the pandemic rages and states—including many in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic– are seeing major outbreaks of Covid-19. The outdoors offers solace from the many stresses of life in 2020 but before you head outdoors make sure you’re recreating responsibly. 

The American Hiking Society and the #RecreateResponsibly Coalition have released guidelines to help keep everyone safe and healthy in the outdoors. The six guidelines are:

  1. Know before you go. Check the status of the place you want to visit. If it is closed, don’t go. If it’s crowded, have a Plan B.
  2. Plan ahead. Prepare for facilities to be closed, pack lunch and bring essentials like hand sanitizer and a face covering.
  3. Practice physical distancing. Adventure only with your immediate household. Be prepared to cover your nose and mouth and give others space. If you are sick, stay home.
  4. Play it safe. Slow down and choose lower-risk activities to reduce your risk of injury. Search and rescue operations and health care resources are both strained. 
  5. Stay close to home. This is not the time to travel long distances to recreate. Most places are only open for day use. 
  6. Leave no trace. Respect public lands and communities and take all your garbage with you. 

You may also wonder if masks are necessary while recreating outside. Guidance form the American Hiking Association states that, ‘You are highly unlikely to catch the virus from simply walking, running, or biking past someone at a 6 foot distance (even if the person gets closer to you for a second)—you’re not in contact with the person for long enough. So, there’s not necessarily any need to wear a mask when going for a walk/run/bike ride if you stay 6 feet from people and aren’t stopping to chat with folks.’

Follow the guidelines and enjoy your summer safely.

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