Opinion | COVID-19 doesn’t doom all outdoor adventures

Even with current restrictions and dangers, you’re still fully capable of doing traditional fall activities while remaining safe.

Signe Nettum, Opinions Columnist

Every year, once the leaves changed colors and it was cold enough to wear my favorite sweatshirt, my parents took me and my little sister to our local fall getaway, Schusters Farm, where we would get lost in the corn maze and pick out our favorite pumpkins to carve.

Every year, we performed our ritual, even if our parents were out of town. I even drove my little sister to the farm when it was just the two of us, and we came home with pumpkins for our parents to carve. The only time we stopped was when I went off to college my freshman year and subsequently my sophomore year.

Now that I am doing college from home, the question hangs in the air: Will we continue the tradition with COVID-19 still around?

We spent the first few months trying not to go outside as much as we could. We even turned a section of our basement into a workout room to keep us from mingling with others. As summer came along and cases rose as more and more people struggled to abide by social distancing regulations, we shortened our summer traditions down to a one-week camping trip.

Almost nine months into the pandemic, simple questions remain because of communication discrepancies from higher-ups in government. Can we go outside? Is it safe to go anywhere with people? How big can a crowd get before it is too dangerous?

Thankfully, we finally have some answers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that if you choose to have an activity that might involve having other people around, hosting it outside is a better option than inside. As long as you practice the same safety measures — standing six feet away from others, keeping your mask on, washing your hands thoroughly when you can, and using hand sanitizer when a washroom is not close enough — you have a lower risk of catching the disease.

My colleague Ally Pronina even wrote an article about how important maintaining outside activities are.

Even with this clear information, you should still take steps for decreasing your chances. As you plan your fall outing, look up the place that you will be visiting. What are their new regulations to combat the spread of COVID-19? Are they up to CDC standards? Are they up to your own?

If you’re looking for a place to go near Iowa City, I would recommend Wilsons Orchard for apple and pumpkin picking. They have worked on improving their ventilations and their precautions in combating the virus.

If you want to check out corn mazes, there are many websites that list what corn mazes are open during this time of year. Unfortunately, even though we are in Iowa, the closest corn maze is an hour and a half away. Funny that.

In the end, it is all up to you where you go and what you will do to protect you and those around you from COVID-19. If you’re looking to do something outside, be sane and be safe.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.