Objectives: We explored the importance of environmental and mobility strategies during early COVID-19 by age and ethnicity and investigated predictors of park visitations considering the COVID-19 impacts. Background: Parks are safe and accessible venues to stay active and reduce social isolation, which is especially important considering COVID-19 and the associated lockdowns. Methods: We analyzed online survey data from 683 residents (collected July 2020) of El Paso, TX, and objective measures of neighborhood park characteristics. Chi-square tests and mixed-effects logistic regression analyses were performed to examine the environmental/mobility strategies, personal and environmental factors, and park visitations, considering the COVID-19 impacts. Results: The percentage of those who visited (1+ times/week) parks or trails/paths in the neighborhood dropped from 41.7% to 19.5% since the start of COVID-19 (OR = 0.015, p <.001). Before COVID-19, middle-aged and older adults were less likely to visit parks than younger adults, while this difference became insignificant during early COVID-19. Hispanic adults were more likely to visit parks than non-Hispanics both before and during early COVID-19. Positive environmental predictors of park visitations included park availability in the neighborhood, proximity to the closest park, seeing people being physically active in the neighborhood, and neighborhood aesthetics. Conclusions: Proximately located parks, trails, and paths well integrated into residential communities, and high aesthetic quality of the neighborhood are the potential features of pandemic-resilient communities and should be considered an important national priority to maintain and promote the health and well-being of the population, especially during pandemics like COVID-19.
- environmental strategy
- neighborhood environment
- park visitation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine