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A few weeks ago, many of us were wondering what the summer months would look like here in New England as we reached the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the first day of summer is right around the corner, we have a little more insight. We can still enjoy beach trips, cookouts, and picnics in the park, but many summer activities might look a little bit different this year. As the CDC and local officials continue to encourage a number of safety protocols and public guidelines, you may not be able to carry out all your usual summer plans, but there are still many ways you can safely enjoy the next few months as we begin the gradual process of getting back to business as usual. 

Get outside

When you think of summer, enjoying time in the outdoors is likely something that comes to mind — especially here in New England, where we have beaches, lakes, and mountains all within a short driving distance. If you plan to partake in an outdoor summer activity, there are a few things to keep in mind before you head out the door.

  • Swimming — The CDC has not confirmed any evidence of COVID-19 spreading from person to person in bodies of water and swimming is a great way to stay cool on the hot summer days. You will still want to check your local guidelines before you dive in and be sure to follow these safety protocols once you do:
    • Continue to wash hands often and practice safe social distancing — at least 6 ft. away.
    • Consider staying local as traveling long distances may increase the spread of COVID-19 as you stop along the way.
    • Stick to small groups of no more than 10 people.
    • Be mindful of your surroundings
    • Monitor young children
    • Never swim alone
    • Brush up on these other general water safety tips.
  • Bike Riding — This summer, we’ll likely see an increase in the number of bikers on the roads as people are spending less time in their cars and more time close to home. Should you decide to get out and ride your bike, be sure to follow these safety guidelines:
    • Always wear an NHTSA-approved helmet that fits properly and also follow the CDC’s recommendations for properly cleaning it.
    • Obey street signs, signals, and road markings.
    • Select a bike that is the right size for you.
    • Should you plan to stop along the way, maintain social distancing and wash your hands before and after.
  • Having a BBQ — Depending on where you live, please check your local rules when it comes to hosting events and abide by limits on party size. If you are allowed to host small gatherings, ensure everyone stays safe by following these rules:
    • When possible, limit your gathering to close family and friends and continue to monitor social distancing and proper handwashing.
    • Never leave an open flame or heat source unattended.
    • Keep children and pets away from grills and fire and ensure they’re far from any structures or overhanging coverings and branches.
    • Be mindful of weather conditions and avoid lighting fires in windy or wet weather.

Plan a Staycation

With many hotels, rentals, and AirBnB properties slowly reopening and limiting occupancy,  consider planning a staycation in your own town and city. In Massachusetts and surrounding states, you’re still encouraged to self-quarantine for 14 days to limit the spread of COVID-19. To help reduce your risk of infecting yourself or someone else, a staycation is the perfect way to have some quality time with your family and stay safe at the same time. During your staycation plan fun activities, you can do inside and outside the house. By following safety instructions and protocols, you can now visit local parks and restaurants, and museums will be opening soon.

Keep an Eye on your Pets

So far, there is no indication that animals are able to transmit COVID-19 to humans, but there are still a lot of things we don’t know yet. Take precautions and keep your pets on a leash when you’re out in public and always wipe off their paws when you get back in the house. This will help keep any germs, dirt, and pollen out of your house and can help reduce the transmission of illness. Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind for the four-legged members of your family this summer:

  • Provide plenty of water and shade if they’re spending significant time outdoors.
  • Be mindful when walking your dog on hot pavement as their paws can easily burn and blister.
  • If you’re enjoying a boat day on the water, have life vests for any pets onboard handy.
  • Avoid fireworks displays — the loud sounds can spook pets into running away.

Even though summer 2020 will look a little different this year, there are still a lot of ways to enjoy the next few months. What’s important is that you continue to monitor local safety guidelines, abide by social-distancing rules, and keep washing your hands and wearing masks. 

We hope these tips help keep you and your family safe throughout the summer. For information on the Quincy Mutual response to COVID-19, please click here. We are in this together, and together we will make it through these unprecedented times.