COLORADO SPRINGS — Getting outside to a park or open space is allowed under Colorado's COVID-19 stay home rules. "With all the restrictions that are on us now, the parks are a respite,” said Kurt Schroeder with Colorado Springs Parks. Only instead of erring on the side of caution, some are testing the boundaries of what they can get away with. The actions of a few, have potential impact on many.
New COVID-19 prevention rules meshing with trail rules raise questions. "The same applies whether you're going to the grocery store or the park, you need to be smart about what you're doing and adhering to, all those recommendations about social distancing, how you conduct yourself," said Schroeder. Out with family is fine. Meeting others, especially a group is high risk behavior
Use common sense when encountering others on a narrow trail. "Keep that six-foot space around you intact," said Trails and Open Space Coalition Executive Director Susan Davies. She says do what is common etiquette on tail, only go wider. "It's okay to step off trail for a second and let that person through, let that bike go by, let the horse go through. We do that anyway." If possible, look for a hard surface like a rock where you can step aside. Once clear, get right back on the trail.
At Colorado Springs parks, the playgrounds are wrapped with caution tape and off-limits. It is a measure to prevent multiple people from touching shared surfaces, because this coronavirus is highly contagious. It is why rules of getting outside also say no groups. "Understanding this is a real serious issue we're all facing,” said Schroeder. Uncertain times requiring unconventional thinking, like it is fine heading out with family, but not with friends living under another roof.
Then there are examples like the incline. A series of closed signs and barriers are in place at the popular outdoor vertical challenge. A counter shows day to day numbers are way down. It also shows plenty still using it. Anywhere from a couple dozen a day, to nearly a hundred a day. Some are blatantly going around signs, others sneak on from side routes. The small number disregarding the closure can claim social distance. They are also not going unnoticed.
Those operating on the edge of the temporary COVID-19 regulations make it harder on those advocating to keep parks and trails open. “It's a situation we know is being evaluated on a day to day basis and we just implore people to play by the rules," said Schroeder.