We’ve got answers to frequently asked questions about the coronavirus stay-at-home orders.
Colorado residents can still go outside for exercise under the statewide stay-at-home order, Gov. Jared Polis said Friday, but they are urged to stay close to home and keep a safe distance from others to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus.
The stay-at-home order issued Thursday doesn’t mean you have to stay inside.
You can go for a walk in the park, a jog around the neighborhood, a bicycle ride or to your favorite local fishing spot, the governor said. It’s even OK to get in your car and drive to locations near your home to participate in those activities.
The city of Fort Collins and the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, following the lead of the World Health Organization, continue to stress the importance of outdoor exercise for personal health. The governor also emphasized it but suggests outdoor recreation be limited to what is “absolutely necessary” for the duration of the stay-at-home order, which runs through April 11.
Larimer County’s order lasts through April 17.
“If you need to recreate, and we love our outdoors, do it in communities close to your home,” Polis said at a news conference a day after issuing the stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. “… This pandemic is not a vacation. It’s not the time to drive 2 or 3 hours from Denver to mountain communities, many of which are reeling from the crisis. Let me add that that is really dumb, because those communities have a higher rate of infection than where you live.”
FAQs: Larimer County and Colorado stay-at-home orders to prevent coronavirus
Polis is asking residents to avoid parking areas and trails that don’t have enough space for people from different households to remain at least 6 feet apart from one another. That might also mean finding a less-used trail or recreating at off-peak times, he said.
Horsetooth Reservoir and the trails surrounding it are a great option for Fort Collins residents, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment spokeswoman Katie O’Donnell said, provided they don’t all go to the same trails at the same time.
There are numerous city, county and state parks and open spaces in and around Fort Collins for people to get outside and enjoy.
Even the three city-run golf courses that have been closed for play — City Park Nine, Collindale and SouthRidge —are open for walking, running and similar activities “for the mental and physical well-being of our community,” city spokeswoman Valerie Van Ry wrote in an email Friday night.
“Visitors to the course(s) are asked to recreate responsibly and observe the minimum physical distancing of 6 feet from other individuals,” she wrote.
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Some outdoor recreation areas where people were found to be consistently violating social-distancing guidelines have already been closed and others will be, she said, if the guidelines are not followed.
The city of Fort Collins’ parks, trails and natural areas remain open, but all recreation facilities have been closed until April 30, according to the city’s website.
Colorado State Parks are closed to all camping — in campgrounds, yurts and cabins and dispersed sites. Access is limited to visitor centers, many of which have been closed, but the parks themselves remain open. Hunting and fishing are still allowed for those with the proper licenses, according to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.
Playgrounds throughout the state have been closed, Polis said, because research has shown that the coronavirus can remain active on the surfaces of playground equipment for up to three days. In Fort Collins, skate parks, disc golf and all other court sports, including basketball and tennis are closed.
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The governor’s order also bans group sports that generally bring together people from multiple households.
“There are certain kinds of recreation that are inconsistent with reducing the spread of the virus,” Polis said. “… People shouldn’t be playing basketball, as an example. You could play 1-on-1 with a housemate but not full-out, full-team basketball. Frisbee, again with a housemate, but not Frisbee tag or ultimate.
“It’s about using common sense to try to engage in the necessary recreation you need as close to home as possible.”
Reporter Kelly Lyell can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow him on Twitter @KellyLyell and find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KellyLyell.news. Help support Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.