'Nothing changes just because you’re outside' when it comes to social distancing

social distancing outdoors
Posted at 4:28 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 19:28:25-04

CLEVELAND — With beautiful weather in Northeast Ohio Friday afternoon, and more on the way for the weekend, many people may be heading outdoors to shake off the cabin fever.

Even if you're outside, state leaders and doctors said you must stay six feet away from other people, because you can still contract or spread the disease outdoors.

On Friday, people showed up to parks like Edgewater to breathe fresh air, fly a kite or walk the dog.

"This is the first day we’ve come out to the park," said Thomas Baldwin, who came out with his wife Lisa to enjoy the sunshine.

Pedro Rodriguez, who came out to go for a run, said, "I’ve been trying to at least get out every day. Don’t want to get too much cabin fever."

Dr. Amy Edwards, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at University Hospitals, urged people to continue going outside as a boost to their mental health but also reminded them to stay six feet away from other people.

"Just because you’re outdoors doesn’t mean that someone can’t cough on you or sneeze on you," Edwards said. "Don’t go in for a hug or a handshake. Nothing changes just because you’re outside."

She said that was true regardless of your age.

"Everybody is at risk from catching this virus," Edwards said. "None of us are immune. This is a novel virus. Nobody has immunity to it, so everybody, no matter your age, can get an infection from this virus. I want to make that very clear."

People at Edgewater who spoke to News 5 were focused on keeping their distance.

"We are trying to stay as sterile and as clean as we can," Baldwin said, later adding that he felt "common sense has to come into play here."

William Skerkavich, who came out to Edgewater for a run, said, "I completely get it. I understand the safety issues."

He added, "I have kids at home, and I definitely don’t want to catch the coronavirus and bring it back home to them."

Edwards urged people to "take those precautions, be smart."

"If you show up to a park or a playground or whatever and it’s crowded, just go somewhere else," Edwards said.

Edwards added that wearing a mask will not prevent you from contracting coronavirus, but it will help you avoid spreading it. She emphasized that asymptomatic people or those with very mild symptoms could still spread the disease to others.

On Friday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources announced it would close Hocking Hills State Park and its trails at sunset. So far, no other state parks have been closed.