Washington, D.C. – Between the warmer weather and the steady roll out of COVID-19 vaccines, it's easy to feel like we're entering into the post-pandemic world. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still present.
The Centers for Infectious Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their safety guidelines to include new information to help people stay safe and slow the spread this sunny season.
"If you want to spend time with people who don’t live with you, outdoors is the safer choice! You are less likely to be exposed to COVID-19 during outdoor activities," according to the CDC's website.
In general, the CDC still recommends all individuals over the age of two wear masks while outside their homes. However, there are times where masks may not be necessary.
"Masks may not be necessary when you are outside by yourself away from others, or with people who live in your household," according to the CDC's guidelines.
Individuals should still be aware of any federal, state, or local mask mandates and do their best to adhere to those guidelines. In Pennsylvania, there is currently a state-wide mask mandate, but the state of Florida does not have any mandate on masking in public.
Social distancing, by keeping at least 6-feet apart from individuals not within your household, while spending time outdoors is still recommended by the CDC. Additionally, it is recommended individuals keep a mask with them in case they are unable to stay 6 or more feet away from people not in their household.
In an effort to address specific circumstances, the CDC website offers activity-specific safety guidance for many activities, including exercise, going to the beach or the park, visiting a library, and more.
For example, the CDC recommends wearing masks (except while in the water) and social distancing while spending time at a public beach or pool. "Masks are especially important when physical distancing is hard," states the CDC, which is why less crowded beaches or pools are considered safer options.
Spending time outdoors may be safer than spending time indoors, but as a general rule of thumb, the CDC still recommends taking basic safety precautions, like masking and social distancing, whenever possible.
It's been a long winter and if the great outdoors is calling your name, it's okay to answer it! Just be sure to stay safe and do your best to protect yourself and others while enjoying some sun.