7 Ways to See Your Friends Safely As Lockdown Ends
Yes, things are opening up, but if you want to resurrect your social life, follow these guidelines.
The good news? In many states across the country, shelter at home guidelines are starting to get phased out, and a return to some new level of normalcy has started. The not-so-good news? The COVID-19 contagion poses no less of a gravely serious threat than it presented two months ago when the pandemic led to your state's lockdown in the first place.
That means, there is still reason for great caution as you start to step outside again. So as you're making plans to visit friends you have only communicated with via text and Zoom for the past couple of months, consider the following guidelines to keep yourself, and others around you, safe from COVID-19. And for more guidance on life after lockdown, check out 7 Places You Shouldn't Visit Even If They're Open.
Visit friends outdoors.
There is growing evidence that strongly suggests that being outdoors is the safest place to be to avoid contracting COVID-19. For example, a recent study out of Japan, from the country's National Institute of Infectious Diseases, found that "the odds that a primary case transmitted COVID-19 in a closed environment was 18.7 times greater compared to an open-air environment"—meaning open air is the best place to gather. And for more information on where you should and shouldn't go, check out The 7 Most Dangerous Spots You Can Catch Coronavirus.
Limit the number of people you are seeing.
The fewer people you come in contact with, the lesser the odds that you are coming into contact with someone else's germs and viruses, right? In other words, hanging out with fewer people at a time lessens your odds of contracting or spreading COVID-19. So keep your gatherings small and distant for the time being.
Go for a walk.
For the same reasons that it makes sense to meet friends outside, going for a walk is also among the safest scenarios to catch up with your loved ones. It is easier to avoid a viral overload of the COVID-19 contagion when you are out in the open air. And for more reasons to walk, check out 25 Amazing Health Benefits of Walking.
Bring your own everything.
If you are planning a picnic or a meal, bring your own food and utensils and aim to seriously limit the things that are commonly touched. "When people share food or drinks with others, including those in their household, they are putting themselves or others at risk of contracting COVID-19," Robert Gomez, MPH, epidemiologist and COVID-19 expert at Parenting Pod, previously told Best Life.
And it's particularly important to bring your own utensils. "The virus can be spread by sharing eating utensils," Cara Pensabene, MD, medical director of EHE Health, told Best Life. She notes that, in accordance with CDC recommendations, cups, dishes, and utensils should all be cleaned thoroughly with soap before being used again. And for more cleaning tips amid coronavirus, check out 10 Disinfectants That Kill Coronavirus Faster Than Lysol Wipes.
Don't talk loudly.
According to a report published by the CDC, after a choir rehearsal in Washington state, 53 of the 61 participants were infected with COVID-19. What was determined from that particular case was that the contagion was spread in aerosol form from singing and talking loudly. In fact, a recent study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, reveals that speaking in a loud voice can introduce thousands of fluid droplets containing viral particles of COVID-19. So, be very careful with how you communicate—or, as middle school kids used to tease one another: Say it, don't spray it!
Practice social distancing.
Even if you are with friends, it's important to be as safe as possible. So keep six-feet of distance and wear your facial covering. Remember, it's not just about keeping yourself safe, but those around you as well.
Don't use anyone else's bathroom.
According to a biology professor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, there are a lot of reasons why bathrooms are high risk in the age of the coronavirus. But it's not just all of the high touch surfaces that bathrooms have. As it turns out, the aerosolization of fecal matter when one flushes the toilet can also spread the contagion. The professor wrote, "We still do not know whether a person releases infectious material in feces or just fragmented virus, but we do know that toilet flushing does aerosolize many droplets." So if you use the bathroom when out in public or visiting a friend, put the lid down before flushing and, of course, wash your hands thoroughly! And for more germ-laden places to steer clear of, check out 7 Germiest Public Places You Should Avoid Even After They Reopen.