Social distancing while outdoors

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Ways to safely enjoy the weather

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– The state reached more than 13,500 coronavirus cases on a beautiful day in Central Illinois. That’s why health officals are reminding people to stay inside. “You’ve got to keep a separation between them and other people to help slow the spread of this disease,” said Douglas Toole with the Vermilion County Health Department, “We understand this is a global pandemic. A lot of people are going to get it, but we’re trying to avoid a situation where everyone needs to seek treatment at the same time.”

The governor suggested opening your windows or spending time in your backyard, small ways to enjoy the weather while still social distancing. Public health officials in Central Illinois also have some suggestions. “Go for a run or bike ride, or take the dog out. All that’s fine,” said Toole. However, those ideas still come with a warning: be careful about crowded areas because having too many people gather in a park or on a trail is still dangerous. “Asking people to avoid small group sports or large group sports too because that involves a lot of contact,” said Toole.

Law enforcement is also working to educate the community. “We might talk to someone if we get a complaint. Here’s what the order is. Here’s what we’re expecting you to do, but we aren’t taking any enforcement action,” said Mahomet Police Chief Mike Metzler. Metzler says their first approach is always going to be getting people to voluntary agree to social distancing. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible that some sort of enforcement could happen. They would defer to the State’s Attorney’s Office for charges. However, the chief was not aware of departments in the state that have had to resort to enforcement action for violating social distancing guidelines.

Health officials are hoping everyone will understand why this needs to be taken seriously because not following social distancing could put yourself, your family, and others at risk. “That’s when you start to worry about people spreading the disease from person to person, going back home and infecting the people at that home,” said Toole.

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