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COVID-19: Using the Outdoors While Maintaining Social Distancing

March 24, 2020 4:48 PM

While staying at home during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is the safest, Public Health Madison & Dane County believes that our parks, trails, and open spaces are essential resources for health and wellness. Even with Wisconsin's Safer at Home order as of March 25, 2020, we recognize that our parks, trails, and open spaces can continue to be used in a safe manner that allows people to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits that these spaces provide.Park Safety Tips

While park programs have been canceled and many facilities within the parks (including playgrounds) are closed, parks and trails remain open. We encourage you to go outside to enjoy these spaces while protecting yourself and others. When spending time outside, please follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use parks or trails if you are sick with symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath.
  • Maintain a social distance of at least six feet from people other than your household members.
  • Do not play team or contact sports. This includes but is not limited to basketball, ultimate frisbee, soccer, or football since these activities do not meet social distancing requirements. Suggested park activities include but are not limited to walking, biking, fishing, hiking, or running.
  • Assume that surfaces could have COVID-19.
  • Do not use playground equipment. If you must touch any surface within the park such as gates, tables, handles, playground equipment or other common touchpoints, use gloves or a bag over your hand, then wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after.
  • Practice good personal hygiene such as washing your hands, carrying your own hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, sneezing or coughing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow, avoiding touching your face, etc.
  • Avoid public restrooms. Use the restroom before you leave your home because many public restrooms may be closed or out of supplies such as toilet paper, soap, or hand sanitizer.
  • Bring your own water or drinks since many public drinking fountains may be disabled and should not be used, even if operable.
  • Bring a trash bag with you and take out your own trash.

Also see COVID-19: Updates for Madison Parks

For updates on coronavirus (COVID-19), visit

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