14 Places You Should Still Avoid When Lockdown Ends

As the coronavirus shutdown starts to lift, here are some public places to steer clear of.

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Texas, Vermont, South Carolina, and Georgia all recently announced the cessation of some of the stay-at-home orders that have come with the COVID-19 outbreak. The self-quarantine guidelines designed to abate the spread of the coronavirus appear, at this early stage at least, to have effectively "flattened the curve"—though many medical experts and virologists warn that it is still too soon to claim any sort of victory over the deadly contagion. Meanwhile, the cratered global economy is on life support.

Balancing the restarting of an economic engine while also keeping citizens safe amid the very real public health risk has become a challenge. So while local businesses are sure to open, there are a few places that, if patronized, still present a significant risk to those inside. Here are the places you should avoid.

1
Airports

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Ask any epidemiologist well-versed in the spread of COVID-19, and the first thing they will tell you is to avoid large crowds. And airports are essentially filled with crowds and therefore, other people's germs. Yes, airline travel is at a record low, and as a result, airports have far fewer fellow travelers. That said, there is a plethora of common surfaces touched during air travel, from those bins at security to the bathroom lock once onboard the plane.

2
Mass transit

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Busses and subways present a real challenge because for many, especially a majority of urban health care workers, public transit is a critical method to commute to and from the front lines of this battle against the coronavirus. If you must take public transit, know that the shared space can be rife with germs. So be sure to wear masks, gloves, and keep a safe social distance from others as much as possible. And for more on life on the front lines, check out 10 Doctors and Nurses Reveal What It's Like Fighting COVID-19 Every Day.

3
Hospitals

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Since hospitals are literally the epicenters of the coronavirus, these facilities have become among the most concentrated areas of the COVID-19 virus. There are a number of medical professionals that are of the belief that increased concentration of the contagion also brings much greater risk. So if you can, avoid heading to the hospital for a non-coronavirus emergency or elective surgery.

4
Gyms

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The U.S. government's plan has specified that gyms can reopen, presuming social distancing guidelines are followed. But can one think of another public place in which bodily fluids are left so wantonly than in a gym? Yes, most facilities offer disinfectant wipes for those working out, but gyms are filled with germs in unexpected places. So you may want to go for a long walk or run before risking a trip to the gym.

5
Tattoo parlors

Two men, tattoo artist tattooing a man's arm in his tattoo studio.
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Reputable tattoo artists do a good job of abiding by accepted public health standards, such as wearing gloves. But we haven't heard of a tattoo artist who is able to ink up one's skin from a safe six-foot distance. Again, it's best to wait this one out.

6
Massage parlors

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There is no way to avoid this relaxing treatment without very close contact. Needless to say, it's not a good idea amid the coronavirus pandemic. And for more ways you could be putting yourself at risk, check out 15 Seemingly Innocuous Habits That Increase Coronavirus Risk.

7
Spas

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Saunas and steam rooms are petri dishes for germs in general. And during the coronavirus outbreak, it could only be worse.

8
Movie theaters

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The shared experience that comes from going to a movie theater is a delightful thing. And yet, even if you are seated six feet away from a fellow moviegoer, the confined space and the unknown health of those around you and of those who sat in your seat prior are still very risky. Better to stick with Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime for the near term.

9
Nail salons

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This is another service that's impossible to do without close contact, so do yourself a favor and hold off on manis and pedis until this pandemic passes. And if you need some help handling your nails at home, here's How to Remove Gel Polish Yourself Safely, According to a Pro.

10
Hair salons

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Until a beautician or barber invents a way to trim a client's hair from six feet away, then it is probably wise to grow your hair out for the moment. In the event you feel self-conscious about your untamed mane, just know that everyone's doing it! And if you're feeling bold, here are 7 Expert Tips for Giving Yourself a Haircut While in Quarantine.

11
Bowling alleys

young interracial couple bowling together
Shutterstock/bbernard

Sticking your fingers in bowling balls that have also been picked up by fellow bowlers doesn't sound too smart right now. And wearing shoes they've stuck their toes in too? Definitely not advisable.

12
Playgrounds

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The incidence of young children with coronavirus might be lower than it is for adults, but the incidence of runny noses at playgrounds continues unabated. Play it safe and only use monkey bars you know haven't been touched by another person's germs. And for more places where germs lurk when it comes to kids, check out The 17 Grossest Places in Your Kids' School.

13
Arcades

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One cannot play an arcade game without touching buttons or mock steering wheels (and let's not even talk about that community change machine). That's too many material items touched by too many people whose health status is a mystery, if you ask us.

14
Public pools

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It's not the water that's an issue, seeing as chlorine effectively kills all bacteria and viral agents. It's the pre- and post-swim locker room experience that is rife with moisture of unknown origins. Unless you're lucky enough to have one in your own backyard, skip the pool and avoid the risk. And for more risky behaviors you'll want to avoid right now, here are 10 Health Risks You Can't Afford to Take Amid the Coronavirus.

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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