Public Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor recreation is a great way to stay active and healthy.  When deciding whether to go to a park, beach, or other public outdoor space, individuals should consider factors that impact the risk of COVID-19 transmission in a certain location, including how closely and for how long you will interact with people, the number of different people with whom you will interact, how well an area is ventilated, and whether other people will be wearing face coverings.  More information about stopping the spread of COVID-19 can be found here.  Wearing a face covering is not recommended while exercising or swimming, so increased physical distance (10 feet) between persons who do not live in the same household is recommended.  Your own ability to wear a face covering and risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19  may be important considerations as well.  

Please visit the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) website for more information about visiting parks and beaches.

Relative Risk Levels for Events and Public Settings:

Lower Risk:

  • Staff and visitors can maintain appropriate physical distance and wear face coverings.
  • Staff and visitors do not share food, equipment, or supplies.
  • Hand washing facilities are available.
  • Small gatherings only include household members.

Moderate Risk

  • Staff and visitors maintain appropriate physical distance.
  • Equipment, toys, and supplies are shared sometimes; shared surfaces are cleaned regularly.
  • Handwashing facilities are available.
  • Smaller gatherings occur with people from other households.

Higher Risk

  • Staff and visitors do not maintain appropriate physical distance.
  • Staff and visitors freely share food, equipment, or toys.
  • Large gatherings or events occur.
  • Visitors may come from outside of the region, potentially from areas with high community transmission of COVID-19.

Information about Public Events

Celebrating Halloween may look different this year due to the spread of COVID-19.  Please consider VDH's recommendations for participating in Halloween events (English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Korean).

Information about Beaches

Public beaches may remain open to individual and family recreational activity, in addition to exercise and fishing in Phase Three.  Executive Order 67 describes specific requirements for public beaches to remain open.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has more information about visiting beaches and pools on their webpage.

Information about Pools

Pools may open in Phase Three for exercise and lessons with some restrictions to allow for physical distancing.  More information about pools and other aquatic facilities in Virginia can be found hereFrequently Asked Questions about Pools in Phase Three can be found here.

Information about Playgrounds

  • Operation of playgrounds in municipal parks and neighborhoods is subject to the discretion of local governments.
  • Playgrounds at locations that are governed by Guidelines for All Business Sectors (such as restaurants) should follow the appropriate Phase guidance
  • Playgrounds at state parks should follow the guidance from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for State Parks

Information about Amusement Parks

Amusement Parks may open in Phase Three, following the Guidelines for All Business Sectors in the Entertainment and Public Amusement category.  More information about safely visiting Amusement Parks can be found on the CDC’s webpage for Considerations for Traveling: Amusement Parks and Carnivals.