10 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make This Summer, Warns the CDC

How to protect yourself—and others—as the country reopens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidelines for reducing the risk of catching or spreading the coronavirus as states lift restrictions and people begin to resume normal activities. Put simply, the CDC advises that the more closely someone interacts with others—and the longer that interaction takes place—the higher the risk that COVID-19 will spread.

"I know that the people are eager to return to normal activity and ways of life," Robert Redfield, MD, director of the CDC, said last week, according to CNN. "However, it is important that we remember that this situation is unprecedented and that the pandemic has not ended."

The summer guidelines are built around three core variables that everyone should be aware of: the number of people with whom you will spend time, how much distance you will be able to keep from other people, and the amount of time you intend to spend with individuals. In other words: The more closely you interact with others, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

The CDC also noted some specific mistakes you should avoid when planning a summer activity, as reported by WebMD. Read on to discover what they are. And for more ways to ensure your safety amid the coronavirus, make sure you know The One Mistake You Shouldn't Make When Washing Your Hands.

Not keeping a guest list at gatherings you're hosting.

Family barbecuing

Assuming you abide by proper social distancing and are spending the vast amount of your time outside, hosting a small backyard barbecue can be a safe and low-risk activity. That said, in the event that a guest has the COVID-19 contagion—or has been in recent contact with someone with COVID-19—it's important to keep a list handy for any contact tracers so that the authorities know where certain individuals may have been for the sake of everyone's safety.

Not making an appointment at a nail or hair salon.

happy smiling woman hairdresser coiffeur cutting womans long hairs during first weeks of reopening in times of covid-19 crisis

Before you visit a nail or hair salon, make your appointment well in advance. Just showing up for a mani, pedi or haircut means you will likely crowd a waiting area that does not need more people.

Not waiting in your car until your appointment time.

hands in blue gloves holding steering wheel
Shutterstock/VK Studio

After you make your hair, nail, or even medical appointment, opt to wait in your car instead of a potentially crowded, indoor, and potentially poorly ventilated area. This is the perfect way to ensure proper social distancing.

Not calling restaurants before going to ensure that employees are following proper safety measures.

Female host in restaurant holding ipad

Restaurants are opening up, but it's never a bad idea to be extra cautious and call ahead to confirm your favorite dining establishment is following strict CDC guidelines designed to keep everyone safe.

Using items at the gym that can't be easily disinfected.

white man with face mask and gloves lifting weights at the gym

Avoid using items like weight-lifting belts and resistance bands, which are harder to disinfect, says the CDC. And remember: No high-fiving your spotter!

Taking the elevator instead of the stairs.

man pressing the elevator close door button

If you are going indoors, try to take the stairs. Aerosolized droplets from previous elevator riders can linger in the air for minutes, and since high-trafficked and poorly ventilated areas are among the riskiest places to contract the coronavirus, do yourself a favor and take the stairs!

Not encouraging guests to bring their own food and drinks to gatherings.

Picnic in the park

If you're hosting a cookout or some other gathering, encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks, suggests the CDC. And if you are serving food? Only one person should be serving to limit contact.

Using self-serve features.


Most fast-food restaurants have mothballed these "serve yourself" soda fountain and hotels have shut down the breakfast buffet. But if you find yourself in front of a self-serve item, do yourself a favor and pass.

Using valet parking.

Close up of man hand lifting car keys fallen on the ground. Guy found vehicle keys someone lost on the asphalt road in the parking. Return property to owner.

Having a stranger enter the closed confines of your car is only inviting that person to spread his or her germs in your automobile. Skip the valet parking and park yourself, advises the CDC.

Not disinfecting your library books.

young white girl taking book out of library

No one knows where your library books have been before you check them out. Be cautious and disinfect before you start to read them—and before you return them, as well. And for more advice on coronavirus, know that This Is the Only Way to Avoid Another Lockdown, Experts Warn.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
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