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Experts: Outdoors still pose a risk with COVID-19

Despite misconceptions, experts say that social distancing and masks are the best approach when protecting yourself from COVID - indoors and outdoors.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Fact or Fiction - is it possible to get COVID-19 outdoors? According to experts, the answer is yes.

After months of being stuck inside, it's natural that the urge to get outdoors especially while the weather is still nice, is at an all time high. This time of year lends itself to a series of family-fun activities, from spending the day at the Great Pumpkin Farm picking apples, to taking a trip down to Holiday Valley Resort for a ride on the mountain coaster. 

For the first time in arguably a long time, people are spending more time outdoors, enjoying nature than ever before. A big reason for that? Because of COVID-19. 

But there are a series of misconceptions that experts say need clarification to ensure people's safety. 

When asked about the aforementioned outdoor activities, Dr. Thomas Russo, president-In-chief of the division of infectious disease at UB says, "I think a lot of people are receiving mixed messaging that outdoors is safe, therefore you don't need to wear masks at all and of course we know that's incorrect. The risk is significantly less, but if you're in close quarters with other individuals for a prolonged period of time you could get infected outdoors in a similar fashion just as you can get infected indoors." 

Russo says, the most trusted and reliable safety measure is a well-fit quality mask, but even with those nothing is guaranteed. The best attack against COVID is combining social distancing with masks.

While life as we know it has been turned upside down, including the cancellation of Halloween this year, businesses and communities near and far are doing their best to make things as normal as possible. 

For instance, the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Galleria Mall on a new outdoor venture to bring stores and a safe shopping experience to the local community. Kristina Droff is the president and CEO of the Cheektowaga Chamber of Commerce and an organizer of the collaboration. 

"We have social distancing signage and mask required signs posted throughout the market," Droff says. 

Every Monday, from October 5 to November 23, at the Galleria parking lot from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., rain or shine.

All safety precautions will be in place, from strong enforcements masks to social distancing.