Enjoying Summer in the Age of COVID-19

The summer’s warmer temperatures coupled with fatigue from months of confinement are luring many of us outside with desires to make up for lost time. But your health and the health of our community must come first.

The virus is primarily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets released into the air that can live on some surfaces for up to weeks. So, as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, remember these four W’s:

  • Wash your hands – often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Watch your distance – keep at least 6 feet between yourself and people around you.
  • Wear a cloth face cover – one that protects both your mouth and nose.
  • Wipe down and disinfect surfaces – such as the wheel of your car and cellphone.

As long as you are able to follow these safety precautions, it is possible to enjoy the outdoors in the age of COVID-19. Here are four low-risk summer activities to enjoy:

  • Visit nature. The sun, fresh air and physical activity can do wonders for your mental health after months cooped up inside. Plan a day trip to a local park, hike or bike the Gorge’s lesser-known trails and bike paths or enjoy the Columbia River on a raft or kayak and go swimming.
  • Camp out in your own yard. Pitch a tent in your own yard and camp out with members of your immediate household. S’mores and star-gazing will make you feel a world away.
  • Plan a social distancing picnic. Make it a small group gathering and ask your friends to BYO everything –– food, utensils and picnic blankets -- to avoid sharing items. Arrange blankets at least six feet apart. You’ll notice right away how easy it is to modify a picnic that follows health guidelines.
  • Plan an outdoor movie night. Bring the movie theater to your backyard using the simple projector and sheet combo. Prop up an old white sheet and attach it to a wall. With a projector and an HDMI cable you can hook up to your laptop, project onto the sheet any movie available for online streaming. Bundle up outside with blankets, pillows and your favorite snacks. Or, stay in the safety of your own car at a local drive-up movie theater.

Though the present situation makes it challenging to get out and participate in some once-loved activities, there is no shortage of alternative options for summer fun. Just be smart and stay safe.