April 13, 2020
Safety First: Social Distancing on DC Trails
by Korrea Johnston
Per Mayor Bowser’s Stay-At-Home Order, residents are still permitted to engage in allowable recreational activities like walking and biking — two excellent forms of exercise that allow you to practice safe social distancing in the District.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) provides safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian access through a sustainable trails program interconnecting the city.* Such outdoor space offers us a much needed physical and mental break from being inside. It’s important that we find ways to engage in physical activity during this time because it positively contributes to our overall wellness. It is critical however, that we do so in ways that will keep us safe and mitigate the health crisis.
When using DC public trails and outdoor spaces, practice the following safety tips at all times:
- Do not gather in groups. You should exercise independently or strictly with members of your household.
- Keep at least six feet of distance between you and others at all times.
- Avoid playgrounds or areas where groups could form. Do not gather in groups of more than ten people.
- Leave any area where you cannot maintain a six-foot distance. If a trailhead looks too crowded, don’t use it and turn back around.
- Carry water, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes to further protect yourself. Self-care is the best care!
- Do not touch your face, especially your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wear a face mask as a voluntary protective measure.
- Wash or sanitize your hands frequently. When washing your hands, make sure you do so for at least 20 seconds after every visit to an outdoor facility.
- Popular trails are likely to be more crowded, so use precautions and social distance. Make more use of your own local trails or nearby walking and biking infrastructure that’s close to home.
- Stay home if you exhibit any symptoms of illness.
Proper etiquette is also highly encouraged. That means maintaining safe speeds, keeping right and passing left, following the rules, minding your pets, standing aside if standing still, and last but not least, being alert. We’re in this together! It’s up to you to use your best judgement. If we keep practicing social distancing and proper trail etiquette, we can continue to #FlattenTheCurve in Washington, DC.
*Check to make sure the trail is open as some may have limited services i.e. closed facilities, unavailable or limited maintenance and security. Visit TrailLink for the contact information of local trail managers and status updates on trail facilities.