Surely, the coronavirus pandemic has affected many outdoor activities, especially businesses that offer these types of services. Are all the recreation activities closed? Which ones are open and what can you do to enjoy the outdoors amidst the pandemic?
The policy requires us to stay at home except when there’s a need to go for grocery shopping, health care visits and exercising. Read on to find out how the pandemic has affected outdoor activities and how you can stay active in quarantine.
Outdoor Recreation Industries that are Affected by Coronavirus
Most outdoor recreation industries are considered small businesses. We know all that engaging in these activities does wonder to our health and well-being, but we need to be smart about getting outside in this public health emergency.
Here are some outdoor activity industries that are affected by the pandemic
- Outdoor equipment
There are different policies for each state, but in most areas, here are the rules when it comes to going to open spaces.
Picnic Areas and Grills
- Allowed if social distancing is maintained
- Follow social distancing guidelines
- Avoid using communal tools whenever possible
- Schedules should be created to avoid crowding
Parks and Open Spaces
- Allowed activities: walking, hiking, biking, running, and other fitness activities
- Maintain 6 feet of distance
- Walkers and hikers should move aside for others on trails
Challenges Associated with the Closure of Open Spaces
There are a number of reasons why closing parks and other spaces may be undesirable. Here are some of them.
Mental Health Impacts
Spending time in outdoor spaces is important for avoiding social isolation and engaging in physical activities, outdoor play or simply enjoying a change of scenery and fresh air. Due to restrictions, the pandemic has further amplified the overall contribution of outdoor public spaces to physical and mental health.
Creating Drivers for Risky Behaviors
If parks and squares are inaccessible, people may move to other less desirable options, such as sidewalks and pavements that are not designed to encourage physical distancing when occupancy is high. More people crowding onto these high-traffic zones will inevitably result in failure to maintain a 2-m distance.
What Can Policy Makers Do to Help Them
It’s important that these outdoor activity industries continue to sustain our quality of life and the economy, but how can they be empowered by the government? Here are important suggestions.
- Keep outdoor areas open and accessible if it can be done safely and within CDC guidelines
- Provide tariff relief for outdoor businesses
- Consider the operational impacts to nonprofit partners that support outdoor recreation and rely on federal dollars to support agency and departmental missions
- Ensure timely, consistent, and clear guidance is disseminated to all nonprofit partners.
How to Stay Active During Quarantine
Shelter-in-place requires people to stay in their homes all the time, barring exceptions like grocery shopping, health care services and exercising. Park trails are providing refuge, even as visitors center at state parks, national parks, and national forests close to the public.
You can go for short trips for fitness, as long as you do it alone or with close family members. You are also required to observe social distancing, making no stops driving and from trailheads. That said, although the businesses are affected, they remain open for hiking, running, and mountain biking. These include trails at national, state, county, and regional parks, and open spaces.
The quarantine is a nice way to get out of the house and enjoy nature, even if it’s just for quiet walks. However, ski resorts and other outdoor activity businesses will be shut down due to the pandemic.