For Minnesotans, September signals the end of summer, when days get colder and shorter and jackets get pulled out of the closet. It’s also a time to enjoy the increasingly rare warm and sunny day outdoors.
And since outdoors is safer than indoors when it comes to COVID, it’s okay to drop the masks and invite the gang over, right?
Kris Ehresman, director of infectious disease at the Minnesota Department of Health, says, yes, there is an outdoor advantage—up to a point.
“And we’ve tried to reinforce that, while all things being equal, being outdoors is better than being indoors. Because you have better airflow. You have more space to distance. And oftentimes you’ll have sunlight, which is positive. So I think some people have gotten the mistaken notion that being outside eliminates risk. It reduces risk as compared to being indoors. But it does not eliminate risk,” said Ehresman:
Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the Minnesota Department of Health has verified cases of outdoor transmission.
“Even if we’re outdoors, if we’re close together for long periods of time without masking, we see transmission happening,” said Malcolm.
The trick to reducing transmission is the same for indoors and outdoors. Here’s Commissioner Malcolm:
“So it’s so key to maintain those three pillars. Important to avoid large, close crowds. Important to maintain social distancing. And important to wear a mask. And we need all three of those things to happen. They’re like layers of protection. It’s not one alone that’s the magic protection. It’s the layering of those things,” said Malcolm.