As more schools, stores, gyms and restaurants open for business, albeit with limited capacity and safety precautions, people starved for social activities may be wondering which are the safest places to start visiting? Everyone is fatigued trying to stay vigilant about wearing a face mask in public and where social distancing is not possible, along with frequent hand washing, but it’s not time to throw caution to the wind just yet.
Until more people are vaccinated and treatments improved, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some activities still carry a high risk for infection from COVID-19. Second only to spending time with someone who is sick without a negative coronavirus test in terms of risk, is going to a bar to grab a drink with friends. Although most establishments try to maintain safe indoor distancing, because people must remove their masks to take a sip or a swig, the risk for spreading COVID increases. As the effects of alcohol are felt, many people will loosen up their mindfulness regarding distancing, masking and sanitizing.
Third on the list experts say carries a greater risk of exposure is hugging friends or family who are outside of your household, especially indoors and around other people. Although we are all craving physical contact with loved ones, consider the risk before leaning in and potentially exposing yourself or some you care about to the virus.
Wedding season may not be in full swing for several months, but many couples who have delayed their nuptials may be moving ahead with their ceremonies. Small outdoor gatherings with distancing and mask-wearing are relatively safe, but indoor or large weddings are considered super spreader events – especially when the wine is flowing, and people are enjoying themselves in what may feel like “normal” times.
Rounding out the top five most risky activities is going back to work in an office. If you are able to work from home, it is advised that you continue to do so. Shared office equipment, break rooms, bathrooms and lax mask-wearing habits have all contributed to COVID-19 workplace outbreaks.
Indoor gatherings with friends, trips with people outside your household, indoor dining, going to places of worship, staying at a hotel, sporting events, and going to the gym may all be better off delayed until the majority of people are vaccinated. In the meanwhile, bundle up and spend time outdoors, take a walk downtown where you can window shop (and then order online), or meet a friend at the park for a socially distanced coffee. Although it may be less appealing after nearly a year, there are always virtual gatherings that can offer some much-needed social connection.
For updated information about staying safe during daily activities and while going out, follow this link to the CDC website.