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With weather warming, officials encourage distance as people head outdoors

With weather warming, officials encourage distance as people head outdoors


Knollwood Condominium friends enjoy the sun, and a glass of wine while practicing social distancing in the 55-degree weather on Monday afternoon in north Bismarck. Seated from left are Darlene Holtz, Nancy Thiel, Gynnel Torgeson, Pat Rotenberger, Pat Lahr and Jean Olson. "We do this in the summer, too, and lots of people join us. So if you see a chair out, please come," said Olson.

This week will bring sunshine and warm temperatures, on most days at least, and state officials say people should take precautions to stay healthy if they go outside.

“If you are out on trails, great. Keep your distance from other folks,” Gov. Doug Burgum said Monday.

People should stay at least 6 feet away from others to lower their risk of contracting the new coronavirus, in case individuals nearby who are infected cough or sneeze, he said.

While Burgum spoke during an afternoon press conference at the Capitol, the temperature outside climbed to 56 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Some people walked their dogs around the Capitol complex while others went for a run.

Burgum said that earlier, from his office, he noticed fitness groups using the expansive lawn, “but they were all keeping their distance away from each other,” he said, adding that “fresh air is good for everybody.”


Frank Laqua, right, and Brian Beattie practice social distancing while making turns on the slopes at Huff Hills Ski Area on Sunday afternoon. The ski hill is closed but a few diehards have been making their way up the snow-covered hill to ski down.

Tuesday’s high is expected to reach the upper 50s in Bismarck before a cold front moves in with temperatures dropping into the mid-30s on Wednesday, said Jeff Schild, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Bismarck. There is a slight chance of precipitation Tuesday night and Wednesday.

The weather should warm back up into the 50s and the clouds will clear out some by Friday, Schild said. The temperature could even hit 60 on Sunday and Monday.

“It really feels like spring,” Schild said.

Local and state parks remain open in North Dakota, as does Theodore Roosevelt National Park. But many parks have shut down visitor centers and other facilities to help stop the spread of the virus.

Cross Ranch State Park, for example, saw a handful of visitors Sunday afternoon with sunny skies and temperatures in the 40s. Families hiked the trails, but restrooms -- at least at several locations near the park’s main entrance -- were locked.

Reach Amy R. Sisk at 701-250-8252 or


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