Safe Activities During COVID-19

Last Reviewed/Updated: 8: 55 a.m., July 16, 2021


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Being Active Outdoors during COVID-19

Physical activity and getting fresh air are important for our overall physical and mental wellness. There are ways to be active either at home or outside while keeping physical distance from others.

Neighbourhood sidewalks, streets, multiuse paths, and parks are all available to get outside and get moving. When doing these activities, some ways to stay safe include:

  • Step-aside or pass others quickly and courteously on sidewalks. Passing someone on the sidewalk is not considered a close contact or a significant risk for exposure to COVID-19.
  • Keep 2 metres physical distance from others.
  • When moving at a fast pace (such as when running or cycling), move aside, give room to others.
  • If you must be behind another runner or cyclist, maintain distance and try to stagger yourselves so as to not be directly behind them.
  • If the location that you are going to is crowded (e.g., a playground or splash pad that has reached its capacity limit), return at another time.
  • Change your route or the time of day that you go out, so that you can follow these guidelines.
  • Stay close to home by accessing nearby parks, trails, and hills. Avoid non-essential travel.
  • Wear the appropriate safety gear (e.g. helmets, etc.).
  • Drink lots of water, practice sun safety and prevent tick and mosquito bites while outdoors.
  • Download the COVID Alert App

Before going outside, consider the following questions and assess whether you can keep a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others:

  • Is my normal walking route crowded right now?
  • Is the park that I would like to go to crowded right now?
  • Will I be tempted to talk with others and not maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance?
  • Will my young children have a hard time keeping a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others, particularly other children?

If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, consider going out another time.

Who can be active outside? Know your own risks.

For some people, it is okay to go out for a walk, run, or bike-ride. Others may need to stay in their homes for their own safety and/or the safety of the community.

Follow the instructions for your situation below:

  • Individuals who have returned from travel outside Canada
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?  NO
  • Individuals with symptoms of COVID-19, even if they are mild
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?  NO
  • Individuals who are a close contact of a confirmed/suspected case of COVID-19
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?  NO
  • Older adults
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?
      • The risk of serious illness from COVID-19 increases progressively with age. Every individual needs to consider their personal risk factors when making decisions about going out. Click here for more information.
  • Individuals who live with someone who has COVID-19 symptoms and/or is waiting for COVID-19 test results
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?  NO
  • Individuals who are immunocompromised (or underlying medical conditions
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?
      • People who have serious underlying medical conditions (such as: cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic lung disease, chronic liver disease, cancer, are immunocompromised) or who are severely obese are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Every individual needs to consider their personal risk factors when making decisions about going out.
  • All other Peterborough residents (except those listed above)
    • Can I get fresh air on my private property (e.g. backyard, balcony, porch)?  YES
    • Can I go for a walk/run/bike-ride off my private property?
      • Yes, but only if you can keep 2 metres (6 feet) from others and you have NO symptoms of COVID-19

Always remember to wash your hands when you come back in from outside.

Should users of outdoor recreational spaces wear masks?

Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering is an additional personal practice that may help to prevent COVID-19 transmission from an unknowingly-infected person (the wearer) to people they may come in contact with. Wearing a non-medical mask or face covering does not replace physical distance. Using both together provides the best protection.

  • When you head outdoors, we recommend wearing a mask, especially if the area you are visiting is busy or crowded and maintaining 2 metres of physical distance from others outside of your household is difficult.
  • For some outdoor activities, wearing a mask or face covering may not be practical or tolerable. For example, during periods of intense physical activity, masks/face coverings may reduce the ability to breathe comfortably and sweat can make the mask/face covering become wet more quickly. Also, there may be potential risk from injury if the masks or face covering is caught on equipment. In those instances, physical distancing remains an important personal protective practice.

Guidance for using outdoor recreational amenities during COVID-19

Peterborough has many outdoor recreational amenities, such as basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, playgrounds, and beaches. Some of these locations are not managed by an organization or an operator. In those cases, members of the public are responsible for following the local and provincial regulations. Use the checklist below to understand the current rules and regulations, and the steps you can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As a reminder, the best practice will be to avoid activities that require individuals to come within 2-metres of others outside of their household.

Preparing for the activity

  • Download the COVID Alert App. The app can alert you to possible exposures before you have symptoms.
  • Stay local. Travelling out of the region could increase your risk of becoming ill and/or spreading COVID-19.
  • Book a reservation ahead of time, if required.
  • Do not put others at risk. If you’re sick with COVID-19 symptoms, stay home and self-isolate.
  • Use Ontario’s online COVID-19 Self-Assessment tool to see what to do next, or call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-000 for guidance.
  • Avoid activities where you may come into close contact with people you do not live with.
  • Bring your own equipment, and do not share with non-household members.
  • Pack only essential items, such as water bottles, towel, equipment, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and/or wipes, extra mask. Limit the number of non-essential personal items as much as possible.

During the activity

  • If the area looks crowded or has reached its capacity limit, come back another time.
  • Know and adhere to all relevant policies and procedures at the location, including capacity limits.
  • Provide your name and contact information, if required. This information will help public health with contact tracing and management in the event of COVID-19 transmission.
  • Respect current provincial and local gathering limits. The safest option is to enjoy activities with the people you live with.
  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub with a minimum of 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your face.
  • Wear a mask or face covering at all times when indoors (limited exemptions apply), and when physical distancing (2-metres) is challenging outdoors.
  • Follow directions of the facility for where to keep your personal items, if relevant. Always place items 2-metres away from others.
  • Maintain at least 2-metres of distance from people you do not live with.
  • Do not play sports or games that are likely to result in individuals coming within 3-metres of each other in the amenity.
  • Do not use or touch equipment or fixed structures that are not being cleaned and disinfected between each use.
  • Do not share personal items, such as water bottles, food, towels, or equipment.
  • Keep music to normal conversation level whenever possible.

After the activity

  • Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub with a minimum of 60% alcohol.
  • Put on your mask or face covering if it was removed.
  • Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub with a minimum of 60% alcohol. as soon as you arrive home.
  • Clean and disinfect any equipment that was used.
  • Launder clothes and towels and dry at the warmest possible setting.

Recreational activity ideas:

Other fun things to try:

  • Plan an outdoor movie night in your backyard with members of your own household
  • Explore one of the many local trails, paths, and cycle routes
  • Draw an artistic mural with chalk on your sidewalk
  • Try a new activity such as geocaching
  • Fly a kite
  • Play frisbee

If you can’t get outside, there are many ways to be active indoors.

  • Be creative and use what you have at home to keep everyone moving such building forts with couch cushions and blankets, or play hide and seek with your family members.
  • Explore virtual visits to museums and attractions. Our local libraries also have great virtual programming.
  • Access online resources for both live and recorded activities to get you moving at home:

Guidance for Hosting or Attending Yard/Garage Sales for Step 3 of Ontario’s Reopening Plan

On Friday, July 16, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario entered Step 3 of the Ontario’s Reopening Plan. This will allow for expanded outdoor activities, such as hosting a yard sale.  However, yard sales do come with risks.  Use this information to make sure you have the right public health measures to run your event safely.

If you are hosting:

  • Have a yard sale, rather than a garage sale. Activities in open-air environments help to control the spread of COVID-19.
  • Control the number of people in attendance. Current outdoor gathering limits apply to yard sales.   As the organizer, it is your responsibility to ensure that 2 metres of physical distance can be maintained by anyone visiting the yard sale.
  • If you have a small yard, prevent gatherings, ask people to wait until there is space on your property to physically distance.
  • Provide hand sanitizer to those attending, and use it frequently yourself.
  • Take alternative forms of payment, such as e-transfers.
  • If you do collect cash, keep the interactions short and go back to physical distancing as soon as the cash has been exchanged.
  • Wear a mask, and ask community members who attend to also wear a mask. If you must be close to others (e.g. when taking payments), you are encouraged to wear eye protection (safety glasses, goggles or a face shield) in addition to the mask.

Note: if you are a business or organization looking to host a yard sale, requirements of the Reopening Ontario Act and associated regulations (currently, O. Reg. 364/20: RULES FOR AREAS IN STEP 3) will apply to you.

If you are a shopper:

  • Remember that it is your responsibility to maintain 2 metres of physical distance from others outside of your household.
  • Perform hand hygiene before and after touching items; avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly when you arrive home.
  • Launder or clean and disinfect anything that you purchase.
  • Make responsible choices – limit browsing time and the number of sales you visit in one day.
  • Wear a mask or face covering.

Always remember to keep the three W’s in mind!

  1. WATCH your distance
  2. WEAR your mask
  3. WASH your hands

Enforcement

Public Health Inspectors from Peterborough Public Health, as well as municipal by-law officers, local police officers, and other provincial offenses officers (including Conservation Officers with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry) have the power to enforce and issue fines for breaches of COVID-19 gathering limits and other rules. Fines range from $750-$10,000 depending on the type of violation

Family Food Activities

On those cold winter days, try getting creative in the kitchen! Letting your children explore food and recipes helps to build their cooking skills. It is also a great way to make family memories.

Cooking with Kids
Kids can get started in the kitchen at any age! This resource provides some suggestions for age appropriate activities that kids can help with in the kitchen.

Try a new recipe.
This resource is a visual recipe collection. It is perfect for the visual learner or those just starting to read.

Screen Free Meals
Keeping the screens off and away during meal time is so important for your children. Children who regularly sit down for a meal tend to eat healthier foods, feel more secure in their family, and have the opportunity to share their day.

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