Vigilant COVID safety measures required during outdoor activities

·2 min read

Now that a stay-at-home order has been issued by the provincial government, it’s a good time to refresh the memory on what outdoor activities can be done, and what safety protocols must be observed.

As the community slogs its way through this second wave of increasing COVID-19 cases, the Uxbridge trail system, tobogganing hills and local ponds are filling up with people. But Mayor Dave Barton opened this week’s council meeting by reminding the community of the importance of social distancing when enjoying outdoor winter fun.

“If you get to the toboggan hill and there are lots of people there, go home for a while and come back later when there are fewer people,” said Barton in his remarks.

The trails are also busy spaces. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, biking and hiking is enticing many visitors. Just this past Saturday, at least 100 cars lined Conc. 7, just south of Uxbridge, at the Durham Regional Forest trail entrances.

While the air circulation and wide open space is comforting, healthcare experts remind the public that maintaining distance is still necessary.

Dr. Carlye Jensen, from the Uxbridge Health Centre, points out that, while outdoor transmission is low, it is not zero.

“Getting outside is a great way to relieve the pressures of lockdown. We have beautiful trails and wonderful streets to walk along. Just remember that when you are on these trails it is still important to keep your distance from those not within your bubble.”

Dr. Jensen also notes that the new variant of the COVID-19 virus appears to be more easily transmitted, and that it’s not the time to let guards - or face masks - down.

Dr. Jensen advises, “If you can't be six feet apart, then turn your face away, wear a mask or step off the path to allow safe space between you and others.”

During its announcement on Tuesday, the provincial government recommended that everyone wear masks both indoors and out as much as possible. Tuesday’s announcement also outlined that police officers and provincial offences officers now have the authority to disperse crowds of more than five people who appear to not be from the same household, and to shut down the relevant location.

For more on the current shutdown, visit https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/59922/ontario-declares-second-provincial-emergency-to-address-covid-19-crisis-and-save-lives

Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos