Q: Should I be wearing a mask while exercising outside?
A: Like many aspects of life in a pandemic, it depends. If you are exercising on your own and not in a crowded outdoor space, you don’t need to wear a mask while you’re exercising or biking outside.
“I think if you’re going to go for a run and you’re going to be by yourself, you’d probably be pretty safe without the mask,” said Dr. John McNeill, Victoria’s local health authority, during a COVID-19 briefing. “It’s kind of a common sense thing.”
But, if you’re biking in a busy park or walking on a track with a lot of people, then you should wear a facial covering as you normally would. At the end of the day, the same rules still apply: You should be able to keep at least 6-feet of physical space between you and anyone else, whether you’re exercising indoors or outdoors.
If it’s difficult to breathe through a mask when running or doing other strenuous physical activity, find uncrowded trails or times to exercise when you won’t encounter others, Mark Cameron, an infectious disease expert at Case Western Reserve University, told the Associated Press.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread by respiratory droplets and smaller, aerosolized particles that are emitted when an infected person speaks, laughs, or pants while jogging up a hill. Facial coverings can reduce the number of droplets and particles that an infected person emits if they are wearing one properly, and can also provide protection for healthy people wearing masks while they are in proximity to infected people.