This is not a post about staying safe from COVID while hiking, but a post about hiking safely at all times, with extra focus on some of the most important guidelines to focus on right now.
I've written a lot on this blog about what to do to stay safe and what NOT to do. When I speak to groups like Girl Scout troops I always focus on one first and foremost:
Any time you go on a hike, tell someone (preferably multiple someones) where you are going and when you'll be back.
This is especially important right now. If something happened to you -- getting lost, twisting an ankle -- it might take even longer than normal for someone to notice you're not keeping appointments. Because there aren't appointments. Sure there are Zoom meetings but I worry about people falling through the cracks if they're not showing up at an office five days a week with coworkers to check on them.
Also, tread lightly. This is not the time to try to balance on a rock wall or try out some parkour moves on a fallen tree trunk. If you get injured, you're inserting yourself in to an already overwhelmed medical system. Everything entails risk (driving to the trailhead is more dangerous than hiking, statistically) but this is the time to think before you act and take it slow.
Finally, stay close to home. People in rural communities can't handle an influx of visitors from the city, especially with the current strain on grocery stores due to panic buying. Wherever you are there are likely hikes less than an hour drive away.