Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

Health Minister encourages physical activity; reminds of social distancing

Health Minister encourages physical activity; reminds of social distancing

During the Government COVID update on Monday 25 May, the Health Minister Kim Wilson gave advice for the people of Bermuda heading to the coming holiday weekend.

Staying physically active is one of the best ways to keep your mind and body healthy, which is particularly important during a pandemic like COVID-19. Under Phase 2 of Bermuda’s reopening, people can now visit parks, trails, and open spaces as a way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with others.

But, as we prepare to head into the holiday weekend, I want to give some guidance regarding how to safely enjoy our beaches and parks this weekend, said Wilson

The Ministry of Health recommends that you visit parks and beaches that are close to your home. This diminishes the risk of lots of people making their way to the same beach or park. And, as we know, the more people, the higher the risk for COVID-19 spread.

Play it safe by keeping space (at least six feet) between yourself and others. So don’t visit crowded beaches or parks where you cannot stay at least six feet away from others at all times.

And it situations where you have to be in closer proximity to others, wear a mask and stay three feet apart from people who are not members of your household. This will make it safe for all concerned.

Practice everyday steps such as washing hands often and covering coughs and sneezes. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.

Prepare before you visit by, for example, ensuring restrooms are accessible.

Avoid gathering with others beyond your household, if you can, or keep your ‘social bubbles’ small and limited to only a few individuals.

Don’t share private hot tubs with persons other than your household; and don’t use water playgrounds as they are often crowded and could easily exceed recommended guidance for gatherings.

Don’t participate in contact sports; remember that groups of 10 or more are prohibited. These typically require people who are not from the same household or living unit to be in close proximity, increasing their potential for exposure to COVID-19.

The use of playgrounds and outdoor gym equipment in our public parks is permitted. However, anyone using this equipment should sanitize it prior to public use.

And, finally, don’t visit parks or beaches if you are sick or were recently exposed to COVID-19.

This guidance can be found on the Government website.

In sum, I would like to encourage everyone to please use common sense in the coming days and weeks. As the weather heats up, the temptation might be there to socialize with others in larger groups. But please…don’t.

Think before you commit to a social plan. Think: Is this safe? Am I being responsible? Is this plan putting me or anyone else at risk? If you hesitate for even a moment in answering these questions, then please, don’t do it.

Remember - the more interactions you have with others and the more you are out and about, the more at risk you put yourself and those in your household.

I know it can feel awkward to refrain from greeting someone with a hug or a handshake…but, it is in fact a sign that you respect that person’s health by not entering into their personal space and putting them and their loved ones at risk. We can still be our friendly Bermudian selves.

Remember, people who share an environment with someone who's infected are at some risk for infection themselves. And an example of a shared environment is an office or even a restaurant, if you're close enough to the person.

That is why we have to stay masked if we are going to be within three to six feet of other persons for more than 15 minutes. Six feet is the closest you can be without a mask. Three feet is safe if you are wearing a mask. And only get closer than three feet if you are both masked and it is absolutely necessary.

"I want to repeat my call to those with family members in the hospital who are medically fit for discharge to please work with the hospital to arrange a more appropriate care setting for your loved ones. Every hospital bed is needed for this national crisis right now. Do not put your family at risk by prolonging a hospital stay unnecessarily. Bermuda and our healthcare workers will thank you for doing the right thing," said the minister.

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