Department Of Health: Limit Holiday Travel And Slow Coronavirus

Charles Woodman

SEATTLE, WA — The Fourth of July is a big holiday for camping and other outdoor recreation, and while camping is allowed again for much of the state, the Washington State Department of Health is reminding everyone to try to limit their travel this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Health officials say they want everyone to be able to get out and celebrate the holiday, but that cross-state travel is dangerous and could help spread the disease, so they should instead consider campgrounds or activities closer to where they live.

“We still want people to limit their travel. We have places in Washington with a lot of COVID-19 activity. If there’s a lot of cross-state travel this summer, that could spread disease around the state,” said State Health Officer Dr. Kathy Lofy.

Despite the limits on travel, many outdoor activities can be done locally depending on which phase of the Safe Start plan the county is in:

Phase Travel Restrictions Outdoor Recreation Gatherings
1 Nonessential travel limited Hunting, fishing, golf,
boating and hiking
No gatherings
2 Nonessential travel limited
Camping, beaches Groups of 5 or fewer
3 All nonessential travel allowed Outdoor group sports,
pools at half capacity
Groups of 50 or fewer

No counties are currently in Phase 4, and the state has put a hold on all Phase 4 applications after a recent rise in coronavirus transmissions.

The overwhelming majority of counties are in Phases 2 and 3, so many will be allowed to get out there this holiday weekend. The Department of Health is offering campers these safety tips:

  • Stay six feet from others when possible.
  • Where a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
  • Wash your hands and avoid touching your face.
  • If you are in large groups, outdoors is safer than indoors.

The DOH also wants to remind everyone that, if you're camping its still much safer to go only with members of your own household, no matter what phase you're in. And again, campers should only visit campgrounds or parks near their own homes.

“Travel that includes sightseeing and dining out can increase the spread of the disease. If everyone goes about their lives as normal this summer we will likely see a resurgence of cases and may need to close down businesses again which we don’t want to do,” said Secretary of Health John Wiesman.

Related: Inslee Pauses Phase 4 Reopening As COVID-19 Spikes In Washington

More Links:

An updated list of all open State Park campgrounds.

Information on Fish and Wildlife campgrounds.

A list of DNR lands that have reopened.

This article originally appeared on the Seattle Patch