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How to keep summertime activities safe from COVID-19

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After being cooped up for months, many families are itching to get out of the house for some summer fun. But, how do we protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19?

Whether it’s a day at the beach or a backyard barbecue, Frank Esper, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, said one of the best ways to reduce coronavirus spread is to plan activities outdoors.

“This virus loves to spread in enclosed spaces, so if you can, keep it outdoors,” he said. “Open spaces make it harder for this virus to spread.”

It’s also a good idea to avoid crowded places and stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with.

“Keeping your distance is always good. You can enjoy a fire at a fire pit, but spread out around the fire pit. Also, spread tables out at a barbecue or picnic,” Esper said. “Doing things outside makes it easier to keep people a little bit more distant while still coming together and enjoying each other’s company.”

If you’re wondering about the pool, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 doesn’t spread through most recreational water, and proper disinfection with chlorine or bromine should inactivate the virus.

“Going to the pool should be OK, depending on how many people are in and around the pool,” Esper said. “Less people is better. Outdoor pools are better than indoor pools.”

Regardless of the activity, when you’re around others wear a mask and be sure to wash or sanitize your hands regularly. And if you’re not feeling well, it’s best to stay home. Additionally, if you’re traveling out of state this summer, Esper said it’s important to check your destination’s COVID-19 activity level and travel restrictions before you leave. He adds that it’s always good to have a “plan B” due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus situation.