Readers ask about outdoor recreation, hunting

Brandon Sun readers requested specific questions be asked at the daily COVID-19 news conference with chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin.

QUESTION: Why are outdoor recreation spaces being closed again, with equipment removed, considering the risk was deemed low for outside activities and there are positive physical and mental benefits associated with recreation activities — especially, for example, school play structures are used during the day by school children then closed outside school hours?

ROUSSIN: Balance, and trying to keep the messages as clear as we can. And the message is, we should be staying home as much as we can. Being outdoors, doing things that are individual or their family unit … Outdoors is great. It’s the act of say, getting to a hockey rink, with 20 children outside, not that great.

We need to have that balance. You’re right, being outdoors, being active has a lot of benefits, so it’s still encouraged Manitobans to stay active. But mostly, within your family unit. We’re not going to socialize with people outside of our household because right now, we’re just so critical.

We don’t have time for nuanced messaging. We have to just be staying home socializing only with our households right now. We’ll get back to all those things.

QUESTION: It’s deer hunting season and people are going out. We did ask the health department and the reply was: “Hunting is permitted under the orders. That said, we urge Manitobans not to socialize with those outside their household.” Do you have more detailed guidelines to offer, as hunting is often a small-group activity with the aim of providing much-needed food in many cases, and often involves two or more people, and isn’t necessarily a household activity?

ROUSSIN: For all these things, and this is why we talk about things like the fundamentals, it’s because it’s really hard to have guidelines for every possible eventuality. The fundamentals apply to all of them.

So we have the rules, right? The group size is five right now. That’s going to apply indoors or outdoors.

What we’re messaging is, even better, if that’s all people from your household, if possible, and then you want to do whatever you can to keep that distancing. Ensure no one there is ill, frequent hand hygiene. There’s a lot of things that we can do to make these activities safe. Certainly, the fundamentals apply and the group-size orders apply, as well.

Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to [email protected] with the subject line: Readers Ask.

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