By HEATHER WALTERS
Those who are now vaccinated against COVID-19 can feel a little safer when doing activities, especially when those activities are outdoor. With warmer weather now upon us, these types of outdoor activities are sure to include beach days and visits to outdoor parks or fishing spots. But, those who are vaccinated still need to proceed with caution.
According to the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC), even residents who are vaccinated should play it safe when visiting public beaches or pools.
“There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can spread to people through water in these places,” according to information provided by SCDHEC. These bodies of waters include pools, playgrounds, beaches, lakes, water parks and hot tubs.
“The virus is thought to spread mostly person-to-person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs,” according to SCDHEC. “The virus might also spread to hands from a contaminated surface and then to the nose, mouth, or possibly eyes. Infected people can spread the virus whether or not they have symptoms.”
Even when visiting bodies of water, health officials advise that vaccinated residents still maintain 6-feet of distance between groups of people, or from those who you might know are not vaccinated.
Before you go
According to SCDHEC, here are steps to take before visiting the beach or a body of water this summer:
• Correctly and consistently wear a mask that completely covers your nose and mouth
• Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you
• Avoid crowds
• Avoid poorly ventilated indoor spaces
• Stay home when you are sick
• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol)
• Get vaccinated when the vaccine is available to you
• Wear a mask when you are not in the water