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As Sunshine Lures Oregonians Outside, Officials Remind People To Stay Home

As the clouds start to part, temperatures start nearing 70 degrees and it finally begins feeling like spring, many Oregonians may want to plan a day at the Coast or on a hiking trek, but public health officials are urging people to continue staying home during the coronavirus outbreak.  

The Oregon COVID-19 Joint Information Center issued a statement Thursday reminding Oregonians of Gov. Kate Brown’s directive to stay home and save lives.

State parks, all private and public recreational campgrounds and many federal trailheads are closed in attempts to keep people from gathering, but even in outdoor areas that are still open — such as many local parks — officials are still warning people to practice social distancing.  

“Physical distance of at least six feet needs to be maintained to stay safe,” the Joint Information Center said in its statement. “Whether indoors or outdoors, the virus can still be easily passed from person to person, even if individuals are not showing symptoms.”  

Still, with the weather improving, many people are undoubtedly itching to get some Vitamin D.  

Yes, Oregonians are not confined to their homes with the current social distancing measures in mind, but any kind of extensive travel should be for essential reasons such as buying groceries and seeking healthcare.  

“All non-essential travel (such as for boating, hunting or fishing) should be short and minimal, if at all,” the Joint Center said.  

For example, the Center said Oregonians who don’t live on the Coast should not be traveling there.  

“Minimizing travel will lessen the chance of spreading COVID-19, especially to rural communities that do not have the hospital capacity to treat an influx of patients from other parts of the state,” the Center said.  

The Center said the best thing to do currently is to continue social distancing, with the exception of people in your immediate household, and sticking close to home.  

You’re free to continue visiting public spaces that remain open — such as city parks, golf courses and natural areas that are open— but only if you can safely stay at least 6 feet away from other people.  

As the weather improves, outdoor spaces will undoubtedly get more crowded. The best way to get some outdoor time, while also keeping yourself and others safe, is enjoying sunshine from your home.  

For example, the Center said people are encouraged to have backyard picnics with people in their immediate household and going for walks or jogs in their neighborhood while maintaining social distance.  

This is also the perfect time to get some yard work or gardening done or just sunbathe in your yard.  

“[I]f Oregonians maintain current social distancing measures, the state will slow the spread significantly and help Oregon hospitals meet demand,” the Joint Center said. “Now is a critical time to stay the course so we can continue this progress.”

<p>Oregon's &ldquo;Stay Home, Save Lives&rdquo; campaign includes images designed to share on social media.</p>

State of Oregon


Oregon's “Stay Home, Save Lives” campaign includes images designed to share on social media.

Copyright 2020 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Meerah Powell is a general assignment and breaking news reporter for OPB. She previously worked as a news reporter and podcast producer for Eugene Weekly in her hometown of Eugene, Oregon. Along with writing and audio work, Meerah also has experience with photography and videography. She graduated from the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication.