Although we've been in the coronavirus (COVID-19 pandemic) for almost a year now, case numbers remain at high levels in various countries across the world. It's more important than ever before to stay on top of health guidelines to prevent the spread of this deadly disease to yourself and those around you.
Do you need a refresher on best practices to stay safe during this pandemic? Well, you've come to the right place. This special series by Dotted Line Manufacturing will delve into all you need to know to stay COVID-free as the vaccine is rolled out. In this chapter, we'll explore tips for navigating public places, going to restaurants, and traveling.
Coronavirus Safety Tips for Public Places
Several practices now form the cornerstone of coronavirus protection. While many of us have made these an essential part of our daily routine, it's always imperative to remind ourselves as well as others of their crucial role in this pandemic.
First up: Face masks. Wearing a face mask reduces the number of potentially harmful airborne particles that your nose and mouth come into contact with. Since many people are asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, donning a face mask in public, especially when you're in close proximity to others, can often mean the difference between staying healthy and falling ill.
Masks also help you avoid touching your face. Health experts don't believe this is one of the primary methods of virus transmission, but it is still possible to pick up virus germs off a surface and infect yourself if you touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
Secondly, thoroughly wash your hands with soap frequently, especially after you return home from being out in public. Lather your hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds when washing. And keep a bottle of hand sanitizer accessible when you're out and about; it can be a lifesaver when you aren't able to wash your hands.
Finally, keep on social distancing. Exhaled COVID-19 droplets from coughing, sneezing, or even speaking can travel quite a distance. So try to stay at least six feet away from others when you venture out into public places — even when you're wearing a face mask.
Coronavirus Safety Tips for Restaurants
When the pandemic first started, we had to give up the luxury of eating inside restaurants for quite a while. Recent months have seen many eateries reopen for dining in. But that doesn't exactly mean it's safe to do so; a recent CDC study concluded that "Adults with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results were approximately twice as likely to have reported dining at a restaurant than were those with negative SARS-CoV-2 test results."
It's worth noting that the above-mentioned results applied to eating both inside and outside a restaurant building. Wondering how this could be? Proper social distancing in a restaurant setting is difficult to maintain. Couple this with the fact that people must remove their masks to eat and drink, and it's not hard to see why virus transmission via respiratory droplets occurs in this setting.
If you're still considering dining in, here are some guidelines to help you stay safe:
Eat on the Patio
If your restaurant of choice offers an outdoor dining space, opt to take a seat there. Many municipalities have allowed eateries to expand their outdoor seating areas because there's less risk of virus transmission from airborne droplets.
The open air of an outdoor dining space reduces the amount of recirculated air particles. This benefit is even better if tables are spaced out by six feet or more.
Call Ahead to Get More Info
Got a restaurant in mind? Call ahead and ask about what COVID-19 safety policies they're implementing and if they have outside dining. If the answer is "no" to the latter, inquire about how their indoor dining policies. Lastly, ask about their off-peak hours and consider visiting during this time. It means that the restaurant is less crowded and thus has a lower exposure risk.
Wear a Face Mask When You Can
Wear your face mask anytime you're not eating and drinking, especially when you're walking through crowded areas of the restaurant.
Delivery or Takeout Is Still Safest
Above all the other dining tips, remember this: Delivery and takeout are still the best options for your safety right now. These alternatives to dining in diminish your risk of exposure the most.
Coronavirus Safety Tips for Travel
Around the world, many people are still traveling via all the usual transportation means. But some of these options have higher risks than others. And there are many factors to consider. With that said, you can still make your travels safer by adhering to a few guidelines:
Consider the COVID-19 Levels of Where You're Coming from
Before embarking for travel, check the COVID-19 levels for the community you live in. The potential for asymptomatic spread means you could be carrying the virus from a high-risk area to a low-risk one.
Consider the COVID-19 Levels of Where You're Going
Check the COVID-19 levels of your destination as well as any areas you're stopping off at. Are they high or have they seen a sharp increase lately? Then reconsider your trip. Traveling to hot zones obviously puts you at a greater risk of catching the coronavirus.
Check Travel Restrictions
Several states in the U.S. and governments around the world have implemented travel restrictions. Check these for your destination as well as your home locale. Either one may require that you quarantine for a specific amount of time upon arrival. These logistical consequences are important to consider because they can certainly affect your travels in drastic ways.
COVID-19 Airplane Safety
Airplane trips can carry a high risk of COVID-19 infection, especially before and during the actual flight. Although fewer people are flying these days due to the pandemic, you'll most likely still find yourself in crowded security checks, seating areas, and boarding lines. Always follow the standard protocol in these situations: Wear your face mask, social distance as much as you can, and wash your hands frequently.
Many airlines are disinfecting planes and taking any distancing precautions they can. And since airplanes use circulated, filtered air from outside, this lowers the chances of COVID-19 spreading during your flight. Still, it's best to wear a face mask for extra protection, even if your airline doesn't make it a requirement.
Car Trips Are Safest
Hitting the open road in your car with only those in your immediate circle, such as family members, is still the safe route for travel these days. To make it safer, clean and disinfect your car before, during, and after your trip.
When getting gas or road trip snacks, designate one low-risk person in your party to do these tasks. This helps immensely to limit exposure. Ensure that this person wears a mask during these activities and sanitizes their hands before returning to the car.
If you're only traveling with members of your own household, wearing a mask in the car isn't imperative. But if you're traveling with people from outside your circle or people who are high-risk, it's better to don one.
We hope you've enjoyed the first chapter of our special refresher coronavirus safety guide. Check our blog often for the next installment, where we'll delve into how to stay safe when grocery shopping or going to the gym!
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