More people are enjoying the outdoors despite social distancing recommendations

ISSAQUAH, Wash. – Several people at Tiger Mountain got outside Wednesday to take advantage of the sunshine and warmer weather. Many of them traveled in groups by car and walked some crowded trails.

The question now—is outdoor activity safe to do if people are supposed to socially distance themselves to prevent COVID-19 from spreading?

Jessica Baggett, a public information officer for Public the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Response team, said outdoor activity is recommended. She said walking, hiking, biking, etc. are encouraged just as long as people maintain a distance of six feet or more. Baggett said DOH is also reminding people of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to avoid gatherings bigger than 10 people.

Normally during the middle of the week, Tiger Mountain visitors would not see a full parking lot. Wednesday, the lot hardly had any open spots as several people hit the trail to escape their home for fresh air.

“This, to me, feels like maybe what we should be doing because people can spread out,” said Doug Barrett while walking his dog. “When you have your kids at home and my wife and everything, it seems like it’s a little bit packed, so it’s nice to get out every once in a while.”

“Lately, it’s relatively crowded midweek. But it’s kind of nice seeing the kids out here doing this stuff since they’re not in school,” said Steve Parsons while walking with his dog.

For many of the hikers, they said nature is the best medicine to protect themselves from coronavirus.

“This is the place to be. I mean, there’s fresh air, there’s a breeze coming through. People are not running around hugging each other out here. We’re staying our distance,” said Diane Honeyman, joined by her husband and dog.

“You’re getting exercise and that’s helping your immune system. So, that’s got to be great too, rather than just sitting around watching Netflix all day,” said Blake Warner, joined by his wife and dog.

Earlier in the week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force announced new guidelines about social distancing. Whether it’s a small or large group, task force officials encouraged people not to go out in public. They also urged people not to go to bars, restaurants, and other crowded places where the virus can be spread.