9 Mistakes You Shouldn't Make During Reopening

Social distancing needs to continue even after public places begin to reopen.

Some states are already starting to reopen, and some plan to lift lockdown orders in the near future. However, this doesn't mean it's safe to go back to how life was before. Even as the country starts to emerge from quarantine, many of the safety precautions we've been employing the last few months need to remain in practice in order to avoid a dangerous second wave of the coronavirus. To help you stay safe, here are the mistakes you should avoid when out in public after reopening.

Shaking hands

Closeup image of two people shaking hands

A YouGov survey at the beginning of 2020 revealed that 40 percent of Americans don't always wash their hands after going to the bathroom, and it's safe to bet that not everyone changed their ways even after the coronavirus hit. That's why handshakes will likely be off the table for the foreseeable future, says Todd Noe, founder of design company Maiden Steel. He also says that people should avoid businesses that don't have a "sanitization station" available for customers.

Hosting a party to reconnect with friends

A point of view shot of a small group of friends arriving at a housewarming party, they have brought gifts for their host.

Although businesses are reopening their doors to the public, that doesn't mean you should be doing the same with your home. In fact, according to the The New York Times, several people recently became ill with the coronavirus in Washington State after hosting "coronavirus parties." And for more on how to have a virus-free living space, check out the 7 Things You'll Never Want in Your Home After Coronavirus.

No longer practicing social distancing

A placeholder label on the ground to reminder shoppers to practice social distancing

For Svetlana Savchitz, owner of Sveta, a restaurant and bar in Manhattan's West Village, the biggest concern after public places reopen is that people will forget about social distancing guidelines.

"Even though restaurants are opening again, and there is a growing sense of normalcy, remember to honor the six feet apart rule while dining out or waiting in lines for orders," she advises diners. "You shouldn't be sitting near anyone within six feet, and you should let the establishment know if you are." And for more ways things will change, check out the 5 Things You'll Never See at Movie Theaters Again After Coronavirus.

Showing up to a restaurant without calling

sign: please wait to be seated

Another way you should except the restaurant experience to change, Savchitz says, is that you should no longer just "show up" to an establishment the way you did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Since a lot of restaurants are not allowed to operate at full capacity, do not make the mistake of just showing up and expecting to be seated," she says. "I would call in to every restaurant from now on to make a reservation and ask them about their walk-in policy and how crowded the restaurant will be." This way, you won't overwhelm the restaurant or create an unsafe crowd waiting outside.

Visiting places that have lax safety protocols

inspection grade sign

If the places you visit don't have strict safety procedures and plans for the coronavirus, then you're putting yourself at more of a risk. Savchitz says she requires her employees to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), and wouldn't recommend visiting any places that don't do the same. And a good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if you noticed questionable safety protocols at a certain place before the pandemic, they might also be cutting corners after reopening. For more help preparing for the future, check out the 5 Grim Realities of Life After Coronavirus You Need to Come to Terms With.

Paying with cash

Cropped shot of businessman gets money from the wallet. Purse with dollars in their hands. Businessman's hand in suit takes out dollar money from a wallet

Keep the cash out of your wallets for now. As Vandana A. Patel, MD, clinical advisor for Cabinet, a health essentials company, previously told Best Life, using a credit or debit card is the safest practice in light of the coronavirus.

Patel says a card can easily be sanitized after being touched by others in a way that cash cannot. In fact, a recent study from the University of Hong Kong, found that COVID-19 can live on dollar bills for up to four days.

Having all employees return to work at the same time

Two young business professionals standing together and discussing over business report in office hallway. Office colleagues reviewing a business document in lobby.

Joy Altimare, chief brand and engagement officer at EHE Health, strongly urges businesses to act with caution when reopening their doors.

"Use a data-driven, thoughtful approach when deciding when to bring employee back to the office," Altimare says. "And consider a different way of working like split shifts [in terms of] weekly attendance. Ensure that each team is supported, but don't mandate that everyone returns." And for more ways your work will change, check out the 5 Things You'll Never See in Your Office Again After Coronavirus.

Forgetting about other safety measures

man stealing woman's wallet

Many people might be so concerned with staying safe against the coronavirus when going back out in public that they may forget to take other important safety precautions, says Anthony Oyogoa, MD, CEO and co-founder of the personal safety app, UrSafe.

To avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation, Oyogoa recommends "staying connected with others when going to public places alone, being aware of surroundings, meeting in a public place that you are familiar with, and letting people know where you are going to be, and with whom."

Assuming the virus is no longer a threat

Portrait of young woman on the street wearing face protective mask to prevent Coronavirus and anti-smog

Unfortunately, some people might assume that just because they can now get a haircut in certain states, for example, COVID-19 is no longer being spread. According to Jim McHale, an entomologist and president of JP McHale Pest Management, this kind of thinking is one of the biggest mistakes people can make as places reopen. In reality, McHale says, people should operate with extreme caution, continuing to regularly disinfect and sanitize both out in public and at home. And for more disinfecting tips, check out the 18 Things You Should Sanitize Every Day But Aren't.

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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