It might be a good time for a picnic.
Whether or not Washington state is headed for a “stay in place” order – as was declared in California last week – remains to be seen (as of this writing). But, as things are now, the general consensus is stay home if you can and definitely do if you feel sick.
That said, it doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. In fact, with the labyrinth of trails, parks and other amenities that Eastern Washington has to offer – and with spring weather definitely upon us – it makes sense to get outside.
First, the macro side.
Experts say it’s not a great idea to travel in areas where COVID-19 has a high number of cases. (Like Washington state, sadly.) But, there are no restrictions locally; but, as of Friday, all nonessential travel to Canada has been shut down. A bad time to have had planned a ski trip to Whistler, B.C., unfortunately.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you must go on the road for any significant distance, bring along a good supply of disinfect wipes (if you can find them) and use them frequently, along with washing hands. A lot of paws have been on those gasoline pump handles.
The situation, of course, is different for those who are at a high risk (pre-existing respiratory conditions, for example, or a senior adult). The CDC recommends staying away from cruise travel or nonessential air travel in these cases.
It also goes without saying that if you feel sick, stay close to the homestead. Air travel means cramped quarters, and older adults could be sitting next to you who have chronic health conditions. But, even then, if symptoms are mild or a fever isn’t present, travelers may not even know that they are infectious or not.
Now, for the micro.
Even in the case of a stay-in-place order, it doesn’t mean being stationary in a two-bedroom apartment. Go outside. Take a walk. Go to the park. Have that aforementioned picnic (but, please, wipe down the table with sanitary wipes beforehand or, better yet, just eat on the lawn).
In Washington state, at present, recreational opportunities outside the home are limited. For example, the city of Spokane Valley recently shut down its parks and recreation classes and activities for the foreseeable future, as did the YMCA.
“The health and wellness of our members is our top priority,” stated Steve Tammaro, CEO of the YMCA of the Inland Northwest.
“Closure for any length of time represents a significant threat to our nonprofit organization.”
The city of Spokane Valley Senior Center also has shut down as of March 16, meaning that its membership will either have to hunker down or restrict itself to activities that limit contact with possible coronavirus carriers.
However, Discovery Playground at Mirabeau Point opened early on March 17, with hours from 6 to 7 p.m. With the nice weather, on March 19 the park was packed with parents and students who will be out of school until at least April 24.
For a list of local trails to check out, visit spokanecounty.org/1406/Trail-Maps and take a look around. There’s no reason to be stuck inside.