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Outside » Outside Features

Do's and Don'ts and Maybes

What can you do in the outdoors? What can't you? This handy guide might help.

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As Phase One continues and Central Oregon begins to look toward a wider reopening with Phase Two, lots of questions still abound. For those who have found themselves on the trails or at the parks, trying to mind the tenets of social distancing and avoiding spreading disease can be pretty tough.

In honor of the Outside Guide, we've put together this handy guide about how to handle some of the more delicate situations that arise in the outdoors.

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Spitting while exercising

We know that saliva or snot ball is gathering in your throat or nose, just waiting for its chance to hit the pavement. We know it's sometimes uncomfortable or annoying to hold it in, but avoid spitting and launching snot rockets. "Spit contains saliva but could also contain sputum from the lungs or drainage from the posterior nasopharynx," Amy Treakle, M.D., an infectious disease specialist with The Polyclinic in Seattle, told Runner's World.

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High-fiving your outdoor buddies

Do your riding bros wash their hands as much as you do? Have they been wiping away dribbles of a pending snot rocket since the last trail fork? Find another way to show your buddies you enjoy their company. Maybe buy them a beer?

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Swimming in public waters

Should you take that dip when things heat up? According to the CDC, "There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus." Since the Deschutes River is not going to be disinfected anytime soon, practice the other guidelines set forth here, and only go in when you can stay 6 feet from others.

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Passing on single track

If you haven't learned proper general trail etiquette yet, now's the time to learn. In addition to yielding to uphill travelers and giving a friendly smile or "hello," here's this from our friends at the City of Boise: "Please stop and move directly off the trail at a 90 degree angle, preferably at least 6 feet if possible (sometimes terrain makes this a bit difficult) and stop again. Please avoid continuing to travel parallel to the trail either on foot or on a bicycle. This will cause more damage to vegetation and more rapid trail widening. Once the person or persons you have yielded to have passed, move directly back onto the trail and continue your ride/hike/run."

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Using public toilets

According to research published in Science Daily, human waste can contain coronavirus, the virus that caused COVID-19, for up to a month after the person has recovered. Without knowing when a bathroom was last disinfected—if at all, and considering that local Forest Service bathrooms are just now beginning to be serviced—your best bet may be to learn how to dig a cat hole. At least 6 to 8 inches deep, and 200 feet away from bodies of water.

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Sharing doobies with friends

The potential for swapping germs has long been a topic of concern among some stoners. It's fun to burn one down together after a big hike or ride or whatever, but considering that pre-rolls can be found for as little as $1 or $2, in the words of a commercial on one local radio station, "bogart that sh*t."

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Public fountains

Thirsty on your run? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "There is no evidence showing anyone has gotten COVID-19 through drinking water, recreational water, or wastewater." If you want to be extra cautious however, bring a bottle from home. It's (nearly) summer in the high desert, after all.

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Working out in a mask

The CDC says people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings "where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain." If you're in the woods, you're probably fine without a mask. If you're running on the Deschutes River Trail by the Old Mill on a Saturday, mask up.

About The Author

Nicole Vulcan

Nicole Vulcan has been editor of the Source since 2016. (Blame her for everything since then.) Favorite car: A Trek commuter bike. Favorite cat: An adopted dog who looks like a Jedi master. Favorite things, besides responding to your comments: Downton Abbey re-runs, Aretha Franklin albums, and pink wine.

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