It was a very long winter here in Airdrie and the fact that our early spring was cold and snowy didn’t help. Add the social distancing restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and we have a lot of stir-crazy families in our midst.
However, Mother Nature has finally realized it is spring and the warmer weather has people thinking of getting outside.
During these challenging and stressful times, it’s more important than ever to enjoy the outdoors. However, there are a few restrictions and rules that should be followed to ensure everyone is kept safe and healthy.
“Please know you can go outside and enjoy the sunshine,” said Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw in her update on the state of the COVID-19 pandemic on April 27.
“Anyone who is not sick or in close contact with a confirmed case can be outside with a small number of friends as long as you stay at least two metres away from each other and you don’t share food or drink. We will get through this.”
The Alberta Health Services (AHS) website recommends that residents plan activities only with people from their own household or cohort family (a family that you partner with where you have both committed to maintaining physical distancing from everyone else.)
AHS also recommends that people:
- Plan activities in advance to ensure physical distancing is possible. If the activity involves a public place:
- consider going during non-peak hours
- walk along the sides of trails and other public pathways to maintain distance
- Practice good hygiene:
- wash hands frequently
- refrain from touching face with unclean hands
- carry and use hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask in public places to help limit the risk of spread to others if you will be within two metres of people other than members of your own household.
The safest place to venture out may be your own backyard. There are proven health benefits to getting fresh air and enjoying the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
Short walks within your community are also encouraged but the AHS website asks residents not to drive to a location to go for a walk.
Other ideas for enjoying the great outdoors include:
- Throw a ball to your dog.
- Reading a book.
- Go for a short walk.
- Use your ‘outdoor living room’ to connect with immediate family.
- Go on a nature hunt.
- Sit and listen to nature.
- Plant something.
- Mow the yard.
- Trim a bush or tree.
- Birds watching.
- Flying a kite.
- Riding your bike.
No matter how you decide to get outside, make sure you are using common sense, know the AHS outdoor guidelines and have fun!