With vacation from school and extra hours of daylight, summer provides more time and opportunities to get out, explore or get together with friends and family. Now that COVID-19 vaccinations are available for everyone age 6 months and older, families can reduce their risk of infection and illness by being up to date with all vaccinations and boosters. Check out Get Vaccinated Oregon to find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster near you.
Beyond vaccines and boosters, many day-to-day precautions can lower your risk while you have fun in the sun. Here are some tips:
Pools, lakes and beaches
Public pools are a great way for the family to cool off and relax. It’s safe to swim in shared pools because any virus particles are greatly diluted by the water. But you should still take some COVID-19 precautions, such as using outdoor pools whenever possible, and limiting time indoors by showering at home. Also, limit sharing goggles, snorkels and other items that contact your face to those inside your household.
Lakes, rivers and the ocean are safe places to swim, if you’re brave enough for a cold dunk, but be sure to check for recreational water advisories. It’s also a good idea to swim with others, and never swim alone.
Outdoor playgrounds offer safe and fun backdrops for kids to play and socialize on jungle gyms, slides, monkey bars and more. For extra precaution, consider bringing your own balls or toys, as well as hand sanitizer, even though the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces and objects is low.
For those attending summer programs like camps and clubs, COVID-19 testing is important to help keep kids and staff safe. Call your child’s summer camp or school beforehand to find out whether they have opted in to Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) Youth Testing program. If your summer program is not offering testing, parents and guardians can buy testing kits at a pharmacy or order free kits online from the federal government. Visit the Oregon Parks and Recreation site for additional information on some 2022 summer camp services.
Barbeques, cookouts and picnics
Summer group meals, especially those that involve a grill, are safer than indoor gatherings. Wash your hands before and during preparation and serving of food, and keep food covered when possible.
Block parties and outdoor get-togethers may offer sufficient physical distancing, but you may consider carrying a mask in case you find yourself in a tight crowd, inside a tent or in someone’s air-conditioned home for a break from the heat.
Outdoor festivals and concerts
Whether you want to catch an outdoor performance at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, take in some barrel racing at the Pendleton Roundup or rock out at Pickathon, the state offers several opportunities to gather and have fun. Outdoor events may allow room to spread out, but you may find yourself in close quarters in areas like restrooms or concession lines. Pop-up vendor tents, for example, provide shade but may also be sealed on three sides, limiting ventilation. Consider packing a face mask to slip on during your time in these high-traffic close quarters. Check the event website ahead of time to familiarize yourself with its mask and vaccination policies.
While outdoor activities are usually safer than indoor gatherings, it’s important to be mindful of possible risk factors and take steps to mitigate them. Bottom line: if an outdoor event begins to feel like an indoor event, consider masking up. OHA wishes you a safe, happy and hydrated summer!