Friendly reminder: maintain social distancing on trails


Steven Deng

Signs posted by the City of San Ramon at trail entrances remind people to practice social distancing.

Steven Deng, Copy Editor

With the shelter-in-place orders having been enforced for a few months now, there’s no doubt that people have started to feel cramped and uncomfortable stuck at home all day. As a result, more and more people are going out for walks around the neighborhood and on the nearby trails to get some fresh air and enjoy nature. And while this is completely fine and in fact beneficial for our mental, physical and emotional well-being, it’s important to remember the need to continue practicing social distancing.

Signs have conveniently been placed at the entrance to many trails throughout the city reminding people to stay six feet away from other people, but far too often, they go ignored. Moreover, studies suggest that even this widely known six feet rule is not enough; research from civil engineering professor at Eindhoven Bert Blocken recommends that walkers stay 16 feet apart and that runners and cyclists maintain even greater distance — at least 32 feet away. It is important to note, however, that this research is, as Blocken puts it, a “purely aerodynamics study, not virology.”

Given how narrow some of the trails around San Ramon are, it’s not always possible to practice proper social distancing. However, with at least 39 trails within San Ramon, one can always go exploring on a different, perhaps less popular trail. Not only can this be a refreshing change of pace, but it may also help you avoid hordes of people. Another solution is simply go on your walk or run during less popular times, perhaps during the early morning and catch the sunrise or enjoy the breeze late at night.

So far, effective social distancing measures combined with the hard work and sacrifices of essential workers have kept hospitals from being overrun with coronavirus patients. However, that doesn’t mean that coronavirus isn’t still a threat and appropriate social distancing is still as important as ever, especially on the trail.

“If we do not respond to infections in an adequate way, when the fall comes,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’s current top infectious disease expert, said, “we run the risk of having a resurgence.”