After self-quarantining for a few months, it’s natural to want to get out and spend some time with loved ones. As stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, it can be tempting to go back to living life as it was before. However, when it comes to returning to our routines, it’s a slow process. You still want to be cautious and protect yourself and others from the potential threat to your health that is still out there. For that reason, we want to talk about gatherings and other activities that you may be interested in, as well as safer alternatives.
Restaurants and COVID-19
Restaurants are a great place to gather with friends and family while supporting a local business and eating good food. Unfortunately, eating out is still not an option in many areas. However, in states where stay-at-home restrictions are being lifted, some restaurants are opening their doors for outdoor seating, as it is a slightly safer alternative to eating inside of the restaurant. Despite this, if you want to play it safe but continue to support local, many restaurants offer takeout that you can pick up or that can be delivered to your door. This is the safest option, as you have minimal contact with potential carriers of the virus or contaminated surfaces and objects.
Large Group Gatherings and COVID-19
When it comes to large indoor gatherings of groups of more than 10 people, such as religious services and weddings, these can put you at higher risk for contracting COVID-19. The more people there are, the more difficult it is to practice social distancing.
Worship services involve people from different households coming together indoors for an extended time. When it comes to celebrations like weddings, attendees may be people traveling by car or plane from other places, which is riskier than inviting people who are local. Not only can this be dangerous for you, but also for any guests who are older or more vulnerable. Ideally, gatherings should be outdoors with a limited number of guests so that everyone can stay at least six feet apart.
Indoor Activities and COVID-19
When it comes to indoor activities like going to a shopping mall, National Public Radio (NPR) states that the risk involved depends on what kind of mall it is, how crowded it is and how much time you spend there. If there are more crowds and less space to practice social distancing, there is an increase in risk.
Factors that can affect risk include outdoor malls vs indoor malls, how empty or crowded the mall is, whether you shop with purpose or leisure. The longer you are lingering in a public area, the more at risk you are in coming into contact with someone who may have the virus. It is wise to know what you’re going to buy ahead of time and wear your mask as you pick it up. Also, going at off-peak hours reduces your risk. If you do go out, bring hand sanitizer and make sure to apply it after you touch any shared surfaces like handrails or elevator buttons.
Activities where you are surrounded by a crowd of people, such as going to a nightclub, is a very high-risk activity. According to NPR, “Crowds, ultra-close contact, singing, sweating and inhibition-loosening alcohol are a potent cocktail of risk factors.” They also mention that when drinking, people become less compliant with rules. This allows for the virus to spread easily if there’s someone who is infected in the crowd.
While not all indoor activities are deemed safe yet, consider doing some outdoor activities if you’re getting together with others.