For fitness-conscious Denverites wondering what the city’s new stay-at-home order means for them, the bottom line is this: Outdoor exercise has been included among “essential activities” in the order issued Monday by Bob McDonald, Denver’s public health administrator.
Walking, hiking, biking and running are specifically permitted as “essential activities,” as long as individuals maintain 6 feet of social distancing. City parks will remain open, but playgrounds, tennis courts and basketball courts will be closed.
“Though we are not closing the parks, we’re encouraging people to walk, to hike, but to also practice physical distancing,” Mayor Michael Hancock said. “Park rangers will be charged with monitoring that. If you’re walking in the park and we’re not seeing the exercise of physical distancing, that might be where the ranger just comes in and educates, informs and discourages your close proximity.”
Hancock said city officials were alarmed over the weekend when they saw volleyball and pick-up basketball games in city parks, as well as picnics.
“These are things that will be prohibited under this order,” Hancock said. “You can walk on the trails, you can hike. We want people to be able to exercise, walk their dogs, and still practice physical distancing, which is critical. What we’re not going to allow to happen are those types of things we saw this weekend where we saw volleyball games occurring and pickup basketball games occurring in the parks around the city.”
Travel to engage in essential activities also has been deemed appropriate, meaning it’s OK to drive to a city park or one outside the city in order to exercise.