Heading into the winter months during the pandemic has one professor calling for a seasonal strategy to get people outdoors safely.
Troy Glover, a recreation and leisure professor at the University of Waterloo, suggests a winter plan that includes encouraging physical activity as well as supporting and creating more outdoor attractions. He says an outdoor sociability component would also be necessary.
“I think that means that if we’re going to be really responsible that we need to encourage people to socialize outside at a safe distance.”
The plan would need some coordination and be dependent on the location it is implemented, Glover says.
“It does mean that playing off either our geographic traits or the character of our community these are the things that ought to be leveraged to the benefit of the region itself,” he says.
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This isn’t about attention away from rising coronavirus infections, but to also understand the negative impact social isolation has on the community. He adds social connectedness should outweigh the low risk of transmission in outdoor settings.
While the surge of COVID-19 cases varies across the country, Glover says this year will change how many look at the winter season.
“We talk about the winter blues a lot when it comes to winter, but I think that’s going to take on whole new meaning this season.”
But there is also a chance to re-think how winter is approached.
“I think that beyond the pandemic, this type of strategy can be really important in terms of ensuring our businesses thrive,” he says.