Mayor urges Montrealers to hit the park: here's how to stay safe

A man wears a face mask as he bikes in a park in Montreal, Sunday, August 2, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Mayor Valerie Plante is encouraging Montrealers to get out to their local parks to enjoy a mild weekend in the city.

Avec le temps beau et chaud de la fin de semaine, je vous invite à prendre l’air dans vos parcs locaux. ���� Et surtout à respecter les consignes de santé publique et à garder vos distances! #polmtl pic.twitter.com/HJkwToVxqG

— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) November 7, 2020

But as cases continue to surge on the island, it may be time to clarify the risks associated with being in public areas.

As with any activity that brings people into contact with others, there is a degree of risk. However, transmission outdoors is much more difficult to accomplish than outdoors.

“Outdoor activities at the park is about as low risk as you get can get,” says infectious disease specialist Mathew Oughton.

WHAT ABOUT PARK BENCHES AND PLAY STRUCTURES?

Oughton says people should be careful to distance themselves from others, and to make sure their children do the same.

“Despite the initial concerns of [surface contamination] there have been very few examples where this has been a major factor of transmission,” he said, while reiterating that it is still important to wash your hands frequently.

While the city enjoys the final summery forecasts, winter sports may prove to be another challenge.

“Get used to changing outdoors,” said Oughton. “If you require heating, ensure there is good ventilation. That is where the risk is posed.”  

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