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While terms like quarantine, shelter in place, and stay at home seem scary when the community is facing a pandemic from this new coronavirus, but government and public health officials say “stay at home” does not necessarily mean “stay indoors.”
While the US government, the state, Colusa County, and the cities of Colusa and Williams have issued orders for people to stay at home, it does not mean that people cannot get outside for exercise, relieve stress, and get some fresh air – just as long as they are not sick or experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
People must also maintain a six-foot distance from others, officials said.
Taking a walk outside can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Try to use less-traveled paths to minimize contact with other people. And unless the park in your area is off-limits completely, remember not to touch shared areas or sit down.
“Our parks remain open, but the restrooms are closed,” said Colusa City Manager Jesse Cain, at Thursday’s special meeting, in which the City Council declared an emergency because of coronavirus.
If you are out walking, health officials said it is best that you carry sanitizer or wipes, and wash your hands and change your clothes immediately once you return home.
While it is best not to make unnecessary trips in a car, officials recognize there will be times when you must be out and about to get essentials. While you are out, why not visit the Colusa Wildlife Refuge, either for a drive along the three-mile Auto Trail, or stop and take a short walk along the hiking trail. The auto trail and hiking trails at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge, just south of Willows, on Old Highway 99, are also open. While the Colusa refuge is always at no cost, so is the refuge in Willows, for the time being. No need to stop at the kiosk to pay, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has suspended the fee during this crisis. However, the Visitor Center and other facilities are closed. Visitors should remain in their cars or practice social distancing on the trails.
Taking a bike ride is also a good way to get some exercise and relive stress. Ride at a leisurely pace away from crowded areas and remember to take water with you to stay hydrated so you need not have to stop anywhere at a public place for a drink.
You don’t need to be a Master Gardener to enjoy a great outdoor activity such as working in the yard. Take advantage of good weather in April to catch up on weeding, trimming and pruning plants. Be sure to get the kids involved now that they are out of school.
Outdoor Activities To Avoid
All team sports like baseball, basketball and soccer should be avoided right now. Also avoid going to playgrounds where the virus could live on high-touch services like swings and slides. Currently, city parks are open for exercise, although all restrooms are closed. People are encouraged to walk or ride a bike without stopping to touch common surfaces.
“The governor is actually encouraging people to go outside to exercise and be outside with the use of social distancing,” Cain said. “Just try not to get within six feet (of other people).”
As of March 29, California State Parks are closed to vehicles, camping, and gatherings. However, people are allowed to walk along the Colusa levee and enjoy the hiking trail in the state park while maintaining social/physical distancing. The boat launch is also open to give people access to the river. Contact the City of Colusa for a boat launch pass.
While the stay at home orders will likely go through April 30, or possibly longer, people can plan for life after coronavirus while staying healthy now by taking precautions while outdoors, officials said. ■