COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus might not be eradicated for months or even years. Unfortunately, the cases have only been increasing, with more than 1,300,000 worldwide and over 360,000 in the US. The cities and states are taking various measures to stop the spread of the virus, ordering establishments to temporarily close down, and calling on citizens to practice social distancing and stay at home. All these policies aim to flatten the curve and prevent the healthcare system from being overloaded.
While staying at home could save millions of lives, it’s not easy for everyone. Being cooped up inside the home can be tricky, and many of us want to know if it’s okay to go outside during a self-quarantine. During a shelter-in-place order, which locations are adopting? Where can you go and how long are you allowed to be outdoors? Can you spend a few hours in the national park? Can you still go out with your fellow hikers while also practicing physical distancing? Here are all the answers to your questions!
Can I go outside while my area is under a shelter-in-place order?
Unless given an all-clear command, a shelter-in-place order means finding a safe location indoors and staying there. So obviously, you need to stay inside and away from others as much as possible, although you are not banned from going outside. If you are not infected nor suspect exposure to the infection, then feel free to go out. The government usually encourages people to still go out for their physical and mental health. However, you need to be extra careful when going outdoors!
Is it okay to go for a walk around the block or to the park?
Yes. People may still go out for their essential needs like seeking medical attention, getting groceries, and other reasons. However, while you can enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, you are still supposed to practice social distancing by staying six feet away from others all the time.
Can I go for a hike?
If you have the means to go to an urban park or go outside the city in your own vehicle to limit your contact with people, then you can surely go for a hike. However, it may not be feasible to go hiking in state parks or national parks. We’ll provide a discussion about these parks later on.
Can I exercise outside?
Many gyms are closed this quarantine season, but you can still climb walls or stairs, jog outdoors, or better yet, just use your treadmill at home for working out. Using your indoor recreation area can help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Can I Go to the National Park?
Going to national parks may be a great way to un-stress yourself from the pandemic, but remember that lots of other people may also be considering it. Chances are, you’ll be in contact with many people instead of trying to isolate yourself. Some national and state parks have reported significant spikes in camping reservations ever since the corona outbreak, so it may not be the best idea. Also, many camping areas are being closed down to avoid people from gathering in groups in th wilderness in the middle of a pandemic. Most national parks that are open have waived entry fees during this unstable economic and healthcare event.
Make sure to check what national parks are open in your area before heading out. And make sure not to go out in large groups, but only with people whom you are sheltering in place with. Keep your distance when encountering people in the areas or trails.
You can still enjoy a hike or camp in the woods during this pandemic, as long as you do not have or suspect you have coronavirus and are simply living in a place with a shelter-in-home order. You can also go out for a walk to relieve your stress or do your workout! Just remember to practice social distancing and only go with people whom you live with.