Although Southern California has pleasant weather during much of the wintertime months, as summer draws near, the desire to spend more time out of doors with family and friends will increase. The warmer months of summer are arriving at the same time that state and local governmental agencies contemplate loosening some of the restrictions placed on activities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These events very well may have left you with legitimate questions about how you can stay as safe and healthy as possible when spending more time outdoors and interacting with others, at least on some level.

Safest Place to Be When You Leave Your Home

Sadly, as the COVID-19 pandemic has taken root in Southern California and around the world, there has been something of a dearth when it comes to “good news.” On a daily basis, we are provided body counts and other grim reports about the manner in which the novel coronavirus infection is wreaking havoc on our lives. 

With that duly noted, there nevertheless are moments at which we do receive a bit of positive or good news. One such happier pronouncement concerns the issue of spending more time outside during the COVID-19 health crisis. Whilst there has been a notable amount of debate among infectious disease experts on a number of subjects, there is nearly universal agreement on one point. Infectious disease experts have been relatively clear in maintaining that if people in Southern California and across the United States are going to be venturing from their homes more frequently in the coming weeks and months, it’s safer to be outside rather than in a mall or store, office, restaurant dining room, or other enclosed structure. 

Jules M. Marcus, a Harvard Medical School professor and epidemiologist states:

“I think going outside is important for health. We know that being outdoors is lower risk for coronavirus transmission than being indoors. On a sunny, beautiful weekend, I think going outside is indicated… but, I also think there are things to do to reduce our risk (of becoming infected with COVID-19).”

Why Risk of COVID-19 Transmission Is Lower Out of Doors but Not Zero

There is no legitimate debate at the present time that you are safe outside than inside when it comes to the matter of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. This particularly is the case if you follow social (or physical) distancing protocols and other recommendations discussed in a moment.

With that said, you and yours are not completely immune from the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection when out of doors. If a person fails to employ the recommended tactics to lower the risk of a coronavirus infection outside, that individual is exposed to a higher possibility of being involved in a COVID-19 infection.

Lowering the Risk of COVID-19 Infection When Outside

There are a number of steps that you need to take to optimize your safety when outside and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission:

  • Socialize with people from within your home
  • Keep gatherings small
  • Practice social distancing
  • Confirm proper coronavirus cleaning and sanitization of outdoor facilities
  • Stay home if you feel ill
  • Wear a mask
  • Keep sanitizing wipes handy
  • Wash your hands

Socialize With People From Within Your Home

The surest way to stay COVID-19 free when enjoying the California summer outdoors is to confine your socialization to members of your household. Of course, realistically this may not be a course you can take because you do want to interact with friends and family members who don’t reside in your household.

Keep Gatherings Small

You also lower the risk of COVID-19 infection by keeping any gatherings small, even out of doors. In some areas, 10 remains the ceiling for gatherings and may remain a cap into the foreseeable future. 

Practice Social Distancing

Even when outside, you need to practice social distancing. Infectious disease experts are nearly universal in their position that social distancing is proving to be one of the most effective methods of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Confirm Coronavirus Cleaning and Sanitization of Outdoor Facilities

If you’re heading to the beach, park, or similar public venue to enjoy some outdoor fun, you likely will make use of different types of facilities at the location you select. These facilities can range from restrooms to picnic pavilions to clubhouses. No matter the type of structure or facility, you need to be vigilant about the possibility of COVID-19 contamination.

The best practice is to confirm the manner in which the facilities associated with an outdoor destination are managed in regard to COVID-19 contamination prevention. Ideally, a particular venue has made arrangements with a reputable COVID-19 cleaning company. In the final analysis, an experienced coronavirus cleaning and disinfection company is in the best possible position to ensure that the risk of onsite contaminations is lessened. A professional COVID-19 cleaning company is also the most reliable resource to rapidly, thoroughly, and safely remediate a possible coronavirus infection at a particular location.

Stay Home if You Feel Ill

A very simple practice is to stay home if you feel ill. You protect your own health and welfare by staying home if you feel ill. You also have a responsibility to protect your family, friends, and others if you feel ill. You best protect against infecting others by staying home when you do not feel well. 

Wear a Mask

In some quarters, wearing a mask has become controversial. The bottom-line fact is that wearing a mask is designed to protect those around you in the event you are a carrier of the COVID-19 virus. Similarly, when others wear masks, they are protecting you. 

A key element of staying safe and healthy when outside during the COVID-19 pandemic is to wear a mask when you will be in close proximity to others. If you are able to enjoy yourself away from others, you can forgo wearing a mask. With that said, you should have a mask handy should others approach or you are walking, running, biking, or engaging in some similar activity and end up heading towards others.

Wash Your Hands

Finally, the key to protecting yourself as well as lowering the transmission rate of COVID-19 more generally is to regularly wash your hands. Each time you do wash your hands, you need to use a soap that foams and continue the process for at least 20 seconds (the length of singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.)

Pay Attention to CDC and Similar Reliable Updates

If we’ve learned anything during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s these three facts:

  • COVID-19 is highly contagious
  • COVID-19 can be fatal, the death spiral being particularly horrific
  • We’re on something of slippery sands when it comes to information about COVID-19 (because a novel coronavirus, we’re only learning the ins and outs of this virus in real-time)

We all need to be responsible when it comes to protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and the community at large from COVID-19. Because COVID-19 literally is a developing story, we must take the time on a regular basis to update ourselves on the state of the pandemic via these reliable websites:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Institutes of Health 

California Governor’s Office