Now that everything is shut down and we are all practicing social distancing, that leaves the big question of how to get out of the house safely. The important part of staying healthy, while keeping everyone else safe, is to maintain a distance of at least six feet, while also avoiding touching any surfaces that might be contaminated or that you might unknowingly contaminate. Although this rules out many activities, there are still a few options left.
When planning an excursion outside, you should come up with a plan. For example, how will you handle bathroom breaks? What is the plan for food? If you get to your destination only to find it is crowded, where will you go instead?
Make sure to pack plenty of hand sanitizer, have a game plan for unexpected circumstances, and above all, if you or anyone in your family feels even slightly sick, stay home.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for getting out of the house safely.
Go for a bike ride
This is a fantastic way to get some fresh air, and see the neighbourhood. If it has been a while, make sure that your bike is in good condition, and then be cautious about your route, especially if you live in a city that isn’t cyclist friendly. If you want to brush up on rules of the road, bicycle maintenance tips and get a sense for how your city ranks in terms of safety, the League of American Cyclists has some resources to get started.
Go for a family hike
Depending on where you live, this could just be a long walk around your neighbourhood or it could be a long walk in a nearby park. The important part is to make sure you aren’t in a crowded area, which, given how many people have been cooped up in their houses all week, may be harder than normal. With that in mind, it might be best to forego the usual park for some of the lesser-known ones. A good place to start is Hike It Baby, which can suggest nearby hikes and trails.
Order food for pickup
Done safely, ordering food is a good way to support your local restaurant. If you can, order from the restaurant directly, as third-party apps can charge commission fees, and it is highly advisable to tip generously, preferably electronically. If you do need to pay in cash, sanitize your hands before and after. It’s also a good idea to throw out the original packaging, and to avoid the utensils and container the food comes in.
Have a family picnic
Even if it is just in your backyard, packing a cooler full of food and spreading a blanket on the grass can do wonders for easing cabin fever. If you go to a local park, keep your distance, and clean up after yourself.
Birdwatching can be done without ever having to leave your car, which means that can accommodate your kids’ naps, as well as cut down on exposure risks. The Audobon Society has some tips for birding while practicing social distancing, and they also have a free Bird Guide app you can download.