TAMPA, Fla. — Florida has a lot to offer, especially now that businesses and attractions are starting to outline their full reopening plans. With school wrapping up across the Tampa Bay area you may be looking for some fun family activities. But, how safe are the things you want to do?
We asked a doctor to analyze the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 during some popular activities. Dr. Paul Nanda is the Chief Medical Officer for Tampa General Hospital's urgent care centers. He's also a father with a baby on the way, so he understands balancing safety during this global pandemic and still keeping your family from going stir crazy.
Dr. Nanda analyzed safety based on the type of location, being indoors or outdoors, the number of people at that location and the ability to practice social distancing.
Going to the pool or beach: Low risk
Dr. Nanda says for both the pool and the beach, the overall risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 is low.
"I took my family to the beach last week," said Dr. Nanda.
He says that in his experience, people were taking caution to practice social distancing.
"When you go to the beach you're not going to put your stuff right next to another group of people. You're already trying to find your own patch of sand. It's outdoors and well ventilated."
At a pool, either private or public, there are opportunities to distance your family from others too. The challenge comes with children wanting to play with other kids and share pool toys. Avoid sharing pool toys and practice distancing on the land and in the water.
At both the pool and the beach, you can increase the risk of COVID-19 if you share food and coolers, so try to bring your own if you're going to safely meet up with other families or friends in small groups.
Dr. Nanda says so far, there's no evidence of COVID-19 being transmitted through water.
"In a well-treated pool, the virus doesn't live well. Small droplets also get diluted in a large body of water. We know the biggest risk is still person-to-person droplets."
Staying in a rental home or hotel: Low to moderate risk
Many families are choosing to avoid air travel for quite some time and instead choosing to hit the road for summer vacations. You'll need a place to stay and that's where your risk is determined.
"From an Airbnb standpoint, where the room isn't flipping over repeatedly where you're with your own family or group, that's a low-risk situation," said Dr. Nanda.
He says rental homes with good cleaning policies and time between guests reduces the risk of spreading or contracting the novel coronavirus.
Hotels are a moderate risk situation because of the volume of guests and the number of common areas with high-touch surfaces.
Going to a theme park: Moderate risk
Florida's largest theme parks have outlined reopening plans and dates for this summer, so you may want be planning a visit. Dr. Nanda says it's too soon to tell exactly how well these reopening plans will work in reducing crowds, encouraging social distancing and disinfection, but he says the risk can vary from situation to situation.
The good thing about theme parks is that they're outdoors and well ventilated. The bad thing is that rides are high-touch and crowds are common.
"The smaller the group, the less risk. The more people and the more tightly packed or the smaller the space, that's when your risk will increase," said Dr. Nanda.
Going to a wedding with more than 10 guests: High risk
Summer is wedding season. If you've been invited to a wedding that hasn't been canceled, Dr. Nanda says going to it would be high risk.
"There may be family traveling in from out of town and of course you'll want grandpa and grandma there and they're more vulnerable," said Dr. Nanda.
A wedding reception includes dancing, which will bring people physically closer together, increasing the chance of spreading or catching COVID-19. If the event is outdoors and is a group of 10 people or less, your risk is much lower.
Dr. Nanda suggests that wherever you go this summer, consider wearing a mask.
"Remember, the mask isn't to protect you. It's about protecting all the others around you."
What other people are reading right now:
- Transcript of 911 call on George Floyd released
- Historic SpaceX Crew Dragon launch scrubbed due to weather
- Disney World proposes reopening July 11 with mandatory masks for all
- SeaWorld proposes reopening parks June 10
- Hillsborough County endorses plans for reopening Busch Gardens
- 103-year-old woman celebrates coronavirus recovery with a cold beer
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