With the predicament the world is facing due to Coronavirus, many of us are wondering whether certain activities are safe to be undertaken. With many countries facing lock down and a social distancing plea doing the rounds, we are wondering. Is it safe to go outside?
Coronavirus is NOT an airborne disease and can only be transmitted through direct contact. It can be passed on by touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and through respiratory droplets like coughing and sneezing. It is not yet known how long the virus survives on surfaces, but simple disinfectants can kill it.
We are advised not to go to mass gatherings of any number and to stay at a distance of 2 meters from people you don’t know. This makes good common sense so as to not transmit the virus to the elderly or medically vulnerable.
Is it safe to go outside?
The general advice at the moment is that the outdoors IS a safe place to be. This is fantastic news considering how many of us may be handling the situation. I know for a fact that my brain is not doing great with all of the media coverage and I worry about jobs and money.
The outdoors is a safe haven away from worry and to cleanse the mind.
Being outside is one of the best medications for mental health, and also physical too.
Some of the main benefits of being outdoors include:
- Stress and anxiety reduction
- Increases relaxation levels
- Lifts your mood
- Allows better sleep
- Mental clarity
- Lowers the risk of depression.
And this is at any time. Not just when the world seems to be falling apart like it is now!
If you have no symptoms and wish to go outside? Do it! It will bring you nothing but pleasure and will benefit your physical and mental health overall. I think now, more than ever, it is SO important to #GetOutside and immerse yourself in all the goodness that the outdoors can bring.
Where to go?
As the economic climate is changing rapidly we have seen a shift in how big organisations are responding to the crisis. The National Trust, for example, know the benefits of outdoor therapy and have opened their parks to every single member of the public, free of charge. Unfortunately the cafes and houses are shut for public use, but the land is there to be explored. As of 21/03/2020 – the National Trust have retracted their offer, due to the sheer number of people crowding in the parks. They are not practicing social distancing and so the Trust have no choice but to take away the ‘attraction’ to reduce the numbers of people visiting.
22/03/2020 – We are asked to not make any unnecessary travel. This includes days out to National Parks or to tick a mountain off your list. Do not travel to get your outdoors fix, but stay close to home instead. Enjoy the world on your doorstep.
Ordnance Survey mapping on the downloadable app provides a ‘Green Space’ layer that shows all the green spaces in your current area. This is everything from commons to play parks.
What about the kids?
Schools have now closed and a lot of parents are preparing to home-educate. Is it safe to go outside with the kids? Exercise and outdoor learning are a big part of school life and this should be carried on, even in this situation. Play in the garden. Walk around your local area playing spot the bird/cat/flying pig. Try not to go shopping or to visit the elderly, but enjoy the outdoor spaces with your children. It will help their mental health just as much as yours.
Enjoy this list of things to do in the garden with the kids, if you are self isolating or worried about being out in public.
Please follow the social distancing measures and keep all physical contact to a minimum.
Note the difference between self isolation and social distancing.
Social Distancing is when we give ourselves distance from other people so we don’t pass on any contagious particles, whether we are infected or not. Cover your face when you cough or sneeze and refrain from physical contact.
Self Isolation is when a person has been infected and you must stay within a certain space until it is passed. To quarantine yourself and minimize all contact with others.
If you feel as though you may have symptoms of COVID-19, please stay at home in self isolation until all symptoms have disappeared. Please follow the advice given by the NHS to keep yourself and others safe. Phone 111 if you are severely unwell or are worried about how you are feeling.
I don’t want to end on a negative note, but we still must take precautions if we want the world to go back to normal. Be safe when choosing routes to walk. Mountain rescue volunteers are wary about putting themselves at risk for silly mistakes. Only do what you are capable of, is their advice.
Practice good hygiene as normal and use anti-bacterial gel (if you are lucky enough to have some!) regularly when outdoors and wash hands thoroughly when you get back home.
SO, the answer is YES. It IS safe to go outside. Try and enjoy the time together even in this tricky situation. It will make the time pass quicker and you should make some lasting memories too.