man and a woman walking on a trail

Walking During COVID-19

As many states ease restrictions by moving from “Stay at Home” to “Safer at Home” orders, one thing that really hasn’t changed is that walking and other non-contact outdoor physical activities are important to our health and well-being, and can be done safely with a few precautions. Here are some tips to stay safe while walking.

Before leaving home:

  1. Select a route near where you live to decrease the chance you’ll need to use a public restroom and increase your chance of going when it’s not crowded since you probably know the least popular times to visit.
  2. Check official guidelines often, as they can change according to what’s happening with the virus in that area.
  3. Check park hours and COVID-19 guidelines before heading out, as many have reduced hours or be closed, and may have specific guidance for staying safe.
  4. Pack water and snacks so you don’t need to use a water fountain or stop at a store (but keep in mind tip #1!).
  5. Take a mask with you; you never know when you might need it.

At the trail/park or on the road:

  1. Leave and go back another time if it looks crowded. Hints are lots of cars in the parking lot or lots of people on the trail/sidewalk/road.
  2. Keep in mind that social distancing is still in effect, even outside. Walkers who live in the same household can walk closely together, but stay at least 6’ apart when walking with anyone who doesn’t live with you. Walking with non-household members is probably best done on a trail rather than the road, for safety’s sake.
  3. Be courteous to and aware of other walkers. When passing or meeting other walkers, stay at least 6’ away from them and turn your head away, if possible. Give proper notice when passing from behind.
  4. Don’t touch your face once you’re out and about.
  5. Wash/sanitize your hands before and after visiting the park/trail or going outside.
  6. Limit the number of surfaces you touch such as benches and kiosk maps.
  7. Enjoy being outside and walking!

Adapted from