What You Need to Know about Outdoor Recreational Activity This Summer

For now, these are Governor Baker's new guidelines for outdoor recreational activity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Image via Unsplash. Illustration by Amanda Lucidi

Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way: We’re all going to have the world’s weirdest tan lines this summer. After months in our homes, though, any type of tan lines might be a welcome sight.

After Governor Charlie Baker outlined his four phase plan of reopening the Massachusetts economy, updates on rules and regulations followed for what we might expect in parks, outdoor spaces, and outdoor education programs in the coming months. And it goes without saying, visitors should comply with the order requiring face coverings in any public place where social distancing is not possible and groups of people no larger than 10 are allowed to gather. When referencing social distancing below, assume maintaining 6 feet of distance between people.

Here’s everything else you need to know about heading outdoors as the weather turns from okay to fabulous and we soak up the best three months of the year:

Parks and Open Spaces

  • Allowed activities: walking, hiking, biking, running, and other fitness activities
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others
  • Walkers and hikers should move aside for others on trails
  • Sanitize hands after visiting public spaces

Athletic Fields and Non-Contact Courts

  • Allowed activities: non-contact sports such as tennis and pickleball
  • Not-allowed: Pick-up games, organized games, or tournaments
  • Do not share equipment or touch other players
  • Users should wait outside the field of play for their turn
  • Sanitize hands before and after play

Picnic Areas and Grills 

  • Allowed if social distancing is maintained

Trash Disposal

  • Expect limited or no trash disposal, and adhere to “carry in, carry out” policy

Public Restrooms 

  • Access to restrooms will be managed by the city, town, or managing organization
  • Expect limited access
  • Abide by social distancing while waiting in lines and inside the facility
  • Composting toilets will be replaced with temporary portable restrooms

Community Gardens

  • Follow social distancing guidelines
  • Avoid using communal tools whenever possible
  • Schedules should be created and upheld to avoid crowding

Outdoor Education Programs 

  • 12 feet of distance should be placed between each individual and activity station
  • Facial coverings required and social distancing enforced
  • Gatherings limited to 10 people including leaders and instructors
  • Use a pre-registration process
  • Add protective barriers to displays or tables

For more questions or concerns: mass.gov/doc/parks or mass.gov/info