Girl taking a selfie wearing a mask in the park with her friends

As shops, restaurants and other businesses reopen, it may feel like the worst is over. However, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 still poses significant risks to our community. Even though we shouldn’t be gathering with friends, it may be hard to resist the temptation. If you choose to go out this summer, here are some things you can do to keep yourself and others safe.

Dining out

Going out to eat can be a relief from cooking and preparing meals at home. If possible, opt for takeout or contactless delivery. If you want to get out of the house, consider taking your to-go meals to a park or other open space where you can distance yourself from others. 

If you choose to eat at a restaurant or cafe, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Wear a face covering. Keep your face covering on when you are ordering, interacting with staff, walking through a restaurant or anytime you’re not actively eating or drinking. 
  • Distance yourself. Ask to be seated away from other parties. When possible, get a table outside. If you are waiting in line, leave space between you and the people around you. If a restaurant looks crowded, try out a new spot that is less busy. 
  • Keep it small. Try to eat with people from your own household. If you decide to meet up with friends, limit the number of people you eat with to 6 or less. When going out with people who are not from your own household, wear a face covering, space yourselves out and avoid sharing utensils, cups, etc.
  • Wash your hands. Remember to wash your hands before eating and after touching common surfaces like door handles. Pack hand sanitizer for convenient and easy use when water and soap aren’t available. 

Barbeques and cookouts

Summer barbeques and cookouts are a tradition in many households. However, it’s important to remember that social distancing rules still apply.

 If you choose to host a barbeque or at-home get together, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Remind guests to stay home if they are sick. If your friends or family feel unwell or may have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days, ask them to stay home. You may also consider keeping a list of guests who attend in case you need it for future contact tracing. 
  • Get outside. Host your gatherings outside whenever possible. If you must host your gatherings indoors, use a large space that is well-ventilated and provides enough room for adequate physical distancing.
  • Wear a face covering. Even if you’re in your own home, wear a face covering if you are less than 6 feet apart from others or if you’re indoors. Encourage your guests to wear face coverings, too. Consider having extras available (bandanas, light scarves, etc. will work) in case they forget to bring their own. 
  • Keep your invite list short. If you are having people over who are not part of your household, keep your guest list short (up to 10 people). It’s also important to limit the number of people handling food. Encourage guests to bring their own food and beverages, designate one or two people to be in charge of any shared food items and have disposable utensils available. 
  • Play games. Encourage your guests to participate in activities that allow for physical distancing, such as cornhole, frisbee or spikeball. Remember to disinfect any frequently touched items throughout the game. 
  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. Remind your guests to wash or sanitize their hands before serving or eating food. Provide single-use paper towels to avoid sharing hand towels. 
  • Clean up afterwards. Clean and sanitize surfaces after your gathering. Be sure to disinfect common areas in the bathroom and kitchen, including door handles, light switches, counters and other frequently touched surfaces. 


While it may be tempting to browse the aisles and windowshop, remember that it’s still important to only go out for what you need. Whenever possible, consider purchasing items online for curbside pickup or delivery. 

If you choose to go shopping keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Plan ahead. Make a plan before you leave the house, so you know exactly where you plan on shopping and what items you’d like to buy or look at. It can also be helpful to plan a trip when the store may be less busy (early morning or late evening). Outdoor malls and shopping centers have better ventilation and may be easier to physically distance yourself from others. 
  • Wear a face covering. Always wear a face covering if you are within 6 feet of people who are not from your household. Face coverings should be worn when you are inside of stores, walking between stores or while waiting in line to get in.
  • Be patient and give people space. Many stores are limiting the number of patrons they allow inside. Be patient and allow 6 feet between you and others in line. If a store looks crowded or there isn’t enough space to wait in line at a safe distance, consider visiting another time. Consider calling the store ahead of time to see how busy they are before your visit. 
  • Sanitize. Many stores are equipped with hand sanitizing stations. Be sure to sanitize your hands before entering the store and again before you leave. 
  • Pay with a card over cash. Cash can carry viruses and germs with it. When shopping, opt for a card or other touchless pay option like Apple Pay to limit the spread of COVID-19 and other germs.

Camping and recreational activities

Venturing outdoors can be a great escape after months at home. 

If you choose to go camping or participate in other recreational activities outdoors, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Limit travel. When planning a camping trip, opt for parks and locations that are close to home. Traveling longer distances may require you to stop along the way or be in close contact with others who may not be as well protected from COVID-19. Limit how far you travel and avoid making pit stops along the way.
  • Plan ahead. Each park is different, and not all parks will be open for camping or recreational activities. Check regulations in advance so you know which areas and services are open. For instance, many parks have closed visitor centers and bathroom facilities. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has information on COVID-19 impacts in Colorado. 
  • Distance yourself. Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times. Some open areas, trails, paths and other recreational sites may be impacted more than others. Avoid areas that appear crowded or make it difficult to distance, such as narrow trails.
  • Wear a face covering. Even though you are outside, it’s important to bring a face covering to wear, especially when using hiking trails or camping sites.
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing. If restrooms are not available at your site, remember to bring your own hand-washing supplies and hand sanitizer. 

More information and guidelines for summer activities can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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