Summer 2020 didn’t look like any summer we’ve seen before, but 2021 looks a little brighter. With a high rate of Covid-19 vaccination and community immunity on the horizon, summer in 2021 will be less restrictive. There are many summertime activities to be enjoyed, even during a worldwide pandemic. The key is knowing what’s safe, and taking the recommended steps to reduce your risk while you’re out there soaking up some summer fun. If you’re fully vaccinated, health officials consider it safe to attend in-person social gatherings with other fully vaccinated friends, as long as everyone who isn’t vaccinated (including children) are at low risk of developing severe Covid-19.
It’s important to note that the vaccines prevent infection and possible spread to others in close contact, but not 100 per cent. So, even if you are vaccinated, you can have fun but with caution. Wash your hands with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
Go for a safe swim
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that Covid-19 can be spread to humans through water. Proper operation, maintenance and disinfection (with chlorine or bromine) of pools should kill the virus. If you are not sick or experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, it’s safe to use swimming pools as long as you stay at least 6 feet (2 meters) from others and avoid large gatherings of more than 10 people. (Check the gathering restriction where you live.)
Get back to nature
In many areas of the country, people can now get out to visit local parks and frolic distantly in open spaces, which is great summer news. The fresh air, vitamin D, and physical activity can do wonders for our mental health, and it’s also a safer alternative to remaining indoors, since virus particles get diluted in the breeze and have a low survival rate on sunny surfaces. It’s also an opportune time to get back to nature, which can be grounding in times of anxiety and uncertainty. So get out and enjoy the soothing sound of a waterfall, start your summer garden, or just walk barefoot through a grassy field, keeping at least 6 feet away from fellow nature goers.
Get nostalgic with the kids
More than ever, parents are welcoming a slower pace of life, while at the same time scrambling for ideas to fill the long summer days. Now’s a perfect time to get nostalgic and share the summers of your youth with your children. Join them outside for a game of hide-and-seek, badminton, or kick the can. Plan a scavenger hunt around the neighbourhood, or create an obstacle course with toys and games from your garage. Build a treehouse. Hang a swing. Catch fireflies. Embrace the lazy, and enjoy the time with your kids while we have it!
Dive into a good book club
If you’ve been meaning to catch up on some light reading, there’s no better time than this summer, while many libraries allow you to check out and download resources with a digital library card. If you’re looking for a more social outlet, consider starting a virtual book club, on your own or through your local library where you can choose a book and start an online chat with your friends. Or create one with your kids or distant family members. Read a chapter together each week, discuss the characters and plot, and ask questions to encourage critical thinking.
Connect over a picnic basket
While shops and restaurants have opened in many places, dining indoors or in close quarters is still not without risk when it comes to a highly contagious virus. Many people are opting for an outdoor summer picnic as an alternative way to connect in small groups, each bringing their own blanket and favourite food or takeout. However, you choose to dine, remember to continue to keep your distance, wear a mask, have hand sanitizer nearby, cough or sneeze into your elbow, and stay home if you’re not feeling well.
Put on a show
When the rainy day’s hit, it’s time to get creative, especially with kids. Put together a puppet show using paper bags, crayons, construction paper, and other household items. Plan an art show by challenging your children to draw a picture and then make it come alive with materials from the house or backyard. Or make it a talent show, incorporating singing, instruments, dancing, you name it. Use your imagination, and keep it light and silly!
Kill time with kindness
Now, more than ever, kindness matters. And reaching out to those who are lonely and isolated can not only be a lifeline for the receiver, it can help us feel more connected and less isolated this summer too. Start a weekly calendar of calls to loved ones or friends who you know could use a check-in. Or reach out to local nursing homes and volunteer your time to make calls, write letters, or do other forms of virtual outreach. Find what speaks to you, and find a way to make a difference – from a safe distance – in your own community.