Businesses are slowly opening back up, but it’s still scary out there. You can dine out, enjoy a yard sale, go to the gym, and check out live music—but how can you do it while decreasing your risk of illness?
Always Call Ahead
Before you head out to any of your favorite places, give them a call. Businesses are reducing hours and capacity, and these changes aren’t always reflected in search engines and on social media.
This also gives you a chance to ask a few additional questions, like what times the business seems to have the fewest patrons and what they’re doing to protect people coming in. While it’s important to take steps for your own protection, if a business isn’t doing anything to reduce the risk of the spread of the coronavirus, you’re still going to be at an increased risk.
Don’t Rush Out to Every Place You’ve Been Missing
It can be tempting to dine out at all of your favorite restaurants or spend a day shopping at your favorite stores, but the more places you visit, the more you increase your risk. Plus, you may find yourself quickly feeling fatigued—after all, most of us just spent three months hanging around the house, not doing much.
If you go to a packed bar to see live music or you’re spending a morning huddled with many other fresh food-loving folks at a crowded farmer’s market, you should quarantine for the following 14 days, just to be safe. If you’re enjoying more time walking at the park, or you’re visiting stores with limited shoppers and lots of safety protocols put into place, space out your shopping days for the sake of recovery from doing something that’s almost new to you now.
Don’t be afraid to say no to friends invites to barbecues and other get-togethers either. Remind them that you not only have your own safety in mind, but theirs as well. And, just because someone at the backyard party isn’t wearing a mask doesn’t mean it’s safe to take yours off.
Don’t Get Lax on Social Distancing
When you start hanging out with your friends and loved ones again, it can be tempting to hand out hugs. Don’t do it. Even if you or the person you’re hugging were recently tested negative for the coronavirus, that doesn’t mean you haven’t picked it up elsewhere since.
There are plenty of ways to show your love, appreciation, affection, and gratitude for the people in your life without hugs and handshakes. Not only is a thumbs up more appropriate these days, but it’s also important to verbally let the people in your life know what they mean to you.
It’s not always easy to stay six feet away from people when you’re at the grocery store or event when you’re taking a stroll at the park. Do your best, and wear your mask. While masks touted as an indoor thing, if you can’t stay socially distanced outside, a mask is a must.
Don’t Leave the House without a Mask and Hand Sanitizer
Speaking of your mask, always have one with you even if you don’t think you’re going to need it. The same goes for hand sanitizer. I keep a spare mask in my car and a small bottle of sanitizer in my purse.
Masks are the new normal, and we won’t be getting rid of them anytime soon. Buy a few extras to give yourself a change, or stock up on a bulk box or two of disposable masks. I like reusable cloth masks because they’re easy to clean between uses. (I’ve found that having enough masks so that you only have to wash them once a week, based on how often you’re out and about, is really useful.)
Precautions Benefit Everyone
Wearing masks isn’t just about your safety. By doing what you can to avoid getting the coronavirus, you are protecting all of the other people you come into contact with. While not everyone is wearing a mask, by doing so yourself, you decrease the risk of getting and spreading the virus.
If you’re spending time with friends and family now that it’s okay in many places to get together in smaller groups, you want to think about their risks and overall health, not just your own.
And Don’t Forget to Wash Your Hands
I’m pretty sure I wash my hands at least twice as much now as I did just a few short months ago. It used to be something I did only after a visit to the restroom. Now I wash my hands with soap and water (while reciting “One, two Freddie’s coming for you” in my head) every time I come in from touching anything outside of my house (including the mail).
Washing your hands helps to prevent spreading any kind of germs. All you need is some water (doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold) and some soap (doesn’t even have to be antibacterial), and two minutes of your time (and scrubbing).
By making all of these things mainstays in your daily life, it will be easier to start doing some normal stuff again, like enjoying a night out at your favorite restaurant or spending time with your friends watching movies or enjoying a bonfire.