Looking for fun summertime activities you can enjoy safely during the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are several options to try.
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has affected activities for many people. With COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment, events and travel are coming back in many places.
But as waves of COVID-19 cases, also called outbreaks, happen, it's important to stay flexible with your plans.
Despite the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there's still plenty of fun to be had. In fact, seeking out fun activities may be even more important now. Doing something you enjoy can distract you from problems. And it can help you cope with life's challenges.
Depending on the weather where you live, many activities may be available. Heading outdoors can be a good way to have fun safely, no matter what COVID-19 cases look like in your community.
It's much harder to catch the virus that causes COVID-19 when you are outside.
The COVID-19 virus is mainly spread from person to person among those in close contact. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets from your lungs, mouth and nose. These droplets are released into the air when you talk, cough, speak, breath or sneeze.
In small places or spaces with air flow, also called ventilation, that is poor, the COVID-19 virus can stay in the air for minutes or hours.
When you're outside, fresh air is always moving, scattering these droplets. So, you're less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets that have the virus that causes COVID-19 to get the virus.
Places at high risk of COVID-19 spread are those that have a high number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 or a high number of new COVID-19 cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In areas of medium or high risk, the CDC suggests people wear well-fitted masks indoors in public, among other tactics.
The CDC and other health agencies also suggest that outdoor group activities are less risky than indoor ones in spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.
Outdoor activities that are near where you live and allow plenty of space between you and others pose a lower risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus than indoor activities do.
Being outside offers other benefits, too. It offers an emotional boost and can help you feel less tense, stressed, angry or depressed. And sunlight can give your body vitamin D, too.
Coming into close contact with people who don't live with you makes your risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 go up. Keep in mind low-risk ways to be around people if your area is considered at medium or high risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. In general, any activity that allows you to keep your distance from others is a lower risk activity.
You can enjoy many activities close to home, whether you're visiting your favorite public, state or national park. Or you may even be spending time in your neighborhood. Some activities may not be possible during some seasons. But there are many ways to be active outdoors throughout the year. Get moving with outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Choose routes that make it easy to keep your distance. If you live in an area with a medium or high risk of spread of the COVID-19 virus, the CDC suggests that you wear a well-fitted mask indoors in public. Don't wear a mask during activities in which it might get wet, such as swimming.
And don't let cold weather stop you from being active outdoors! Dress in layers. Protect your head, hands and feet. Then head outside for a winter hike or go cross-country skiing. And aim to keep a positive mindset about winter. This may help you to enjoy the season and winter activities more.
Depending on your location and the weather, many other outdoor activities can be good low-risk choices:
Some of these activities may not be available in all seasons and locations. But take advantage of them when the weather permits. Some ideas include:
Camping. If you only have close contact only with people you live with, camping is low risk.
If you camp with people outside your household, camp in separate tents spaced away from each other. Avoid sharing camping supplies, including food and drinks. Pack hand soap, hand sanitizer, and supplies to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces.
Gathering with small groups of friends. Allow for social distancing between people from different households, and meet outdoors in small groups. Skip the hugs and handshakes. Plan activities that don't need close contact, such as sidewalk chalk for kids and games such as kickball. And bring hand sanitizer.
Keep in mind that just getting together for a chat at a safe distance can offer a valuable opportunity to be with people you care about. And it can boost your mood at the same time.
Risk increases with how long you spend with others. It also increases if someone who has COVID-19 was near you and coughing or doing an activity such as singing.
Being in large gatherings or crowds of people where it's difficult to stay a safe distance apart poses the highest risk. The larger the group and the longer people are together in these situations, the higher the risk. Weddings, festivals and parades are examples.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it's important to take care of yourself and those around you. Practice precautions. It's important to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines. Test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms. And cancel plans if someone may be sick.
When you are out, wash your hands often. Avoid touching your face. If you live in an area with a high risk of COVID-19, wear a well-fitted mask. If you are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, wear a mask when you are in an area that has a medium or high level of risk of COVID-19.
At the same time, well-being also includes doing things that make life worth living. With the right information, you can make thoughtful choices about ways to bring a sense of normalcy and joy to your life during the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic.