In her most recent Op-Ed, PISC Senior Scholar Eugenia South, MD, addresses social distancing issues in the Philadelphia area. In March, Dr. South wrote about the importance of spending time outdoors as a means to preserve mental health, but as warm weather draws out more people, this could become detrimental.
Dr. South believes the same restrictions implemented on businesses which limit occupancy to 50% of normal and guarantees distance between customers, should be applied to outdoor areas as well.
These restrictions would include a “maximum occupancy” level for parks and trails, “Park Tenders” responsible for monitoring flow in and out of heavily-trafficked parks and trails, as well as mandated mask use in park spaces. "In the short term," South says, "the city could temporarily close streets specifically in and around green spaces during peak use times to allow people to spread out." In the long term, it is more green spaces that are needed, particularly in disadvantaged lower-resourced neighborhoods.
In the end, Dr. South says, "Investing the time and resources now to ensure [the] safe use of parks will preserve these vital outdoor spaces for all of us to enjoy."