Staying safe at the beach and the park

With the weather improving and people in England now allowed to meet with others outdoors, we will be heading to the beaches and parks. Being outdoors and getting exercise are essential for our physical and mental health but also comes with some risks because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and others from the risk of infection.

Travelling safely. If you are travelling by car, try to travel with people from your household or support bubble. If using public transport, make sure you wear a face mask. The best way to travel is by foot or bicycle but this won’t be practical for more distant locations.

Follow Covid-19 rules on how many people can meet. In England, you can currently meet with a maximum of five other people if they are from more than two other households. Make sure your total group size does not exceed six people if this is the case. If there are people from just two households meeting, then your group can be bigger than six people.

Keep your distance from other people. There will be many other people also out and about. Try to keep at least two metres away from others who are not in your group if they will be near you for a prolonged period. The virus that causes Covid-19 spreads from person to person by droplets or through an aerosol. Outdoors, the virus will disperse quickly and the risk of infection is very low if you are not near other people.

Don’t share food and drink. You should use separate cups, plates and utensils for each person present and not share them as sharing will increase the risk of infection. You should also avoid sharing food because this has been shown to increase the risk of infection.

Be aware of the greater risks in indoor spaces such as toilets. At some point, you may have to use to use a public toilet. The risk of infection is substantially higher in indoor spaces – particularly if they are crowded, used by lots of people and are poorly ventilated. Avoid coming into close contact with others while indoors. You should also wear a face mask or face covering, and wash or sanitise your hands before entering. After using the toilet, wash your hands thoroughly and go back outside immediately once you finish.

Avoid touching surfaces. Surfaces such as hand rails will have been touched by many other people and will be contaminated. If you do touch a surface that many people have been in contact with, wash or sanitize your hands as soon as possible.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly. This will remove any virus that you may have inadvertently picked up from a surface or from someone else, and help to protect yourself and protect others.

Don’t drink too much alcohol. People are far more likely to engage in behaviour that increases their risk of infection if they have been drinking heavily. Ensure you maintain your self-control and remain aware of the people around you.

Don’t go out if you are unwell or are self-isolating. Don’t go out if you feel unwell, have symptoms of a possible Covid-19 infection, or if you are self-isolating because you have been in contact with someone else with Covid-19. If you break these rules, you are putting others at risk.

Avoid mixing indoors afterwards. It may be very tempting for your group to go back to a friend’s house for a drink or get together after your day out but this is a breach of the current Covid-19 regulations on people from different households mixing. The risk of infection is far higher indoors than outdoors, which is why the government prohibits indoor mixing.

Most importantly, get vaccinated. The UK’s Covid-19 vaccination programme is now well underway. If you are eligible for a vaccination, please book your appointment. If you have not yet been invited, please do attend for your vaccination when you are invited. Vaccination protects you and protects others, creating a safer environment for everyone and provides a route to a return to a more normal way of living.

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