As you start to dip your toes back into typical summertime activities,
you may be wondering how they rank in riskiness. Keep in mind that in
any situation, the best takeaway is to practice social distancing and
wear a mask when social distancing is not possible.
We pulled together some summer favorites, from crawfish boils to a day
at the pool:
Backyard BBQ or crawfish boil
Outside, in general, is a good option because it allows for space between
people and fresh air, meaning less chance of virus transmission. If it’s
with a small group, say one other family who has been practicing social
distancing, the risk should be pretty low. To limit exposure, don’t
share utensils, food or drinks, and wash your hands.
Think engagement party, small wedding or graduation. If there’s more
than 10 guests, which is a given for most south Louisiana celebrations,
the risk goes up considerably, even if it’s held outside. A celebratory
mood and drinking can loosen guests up and maybe make that 6-foot distance
seem a little less important.
Although a favorite year-round, many people are itching to get back to
a table filled with friends, chips and salsa, and a frozen beverage. While
outdoor seating poses the lower risk, peoples may start to opt out as
the temperatures rise. If you choose to eat inside, be sure restaurant
is following guidelines, like spaced out seating, mask wearing, and no
self-serve areas like fountain drinks and buffets.
No matter how it gets during summer, snowballs remain a popular outdoor
“dining” option. Many snowball stands have a small seating area or picnic table, but there’s
not usually much space to distance, plus those surfaces may be harder
to disinfect. The safer bet is to grab that snowball to-go.
Condo or vacation house
If going with another family who has been limiting their exposure, this
could be pretty low risk. Being self-contained has its health perks –
for example, you can prepare meals in-house instead of eating out.
Before renting, look into what new policies the rental agency or private
owners have implemented in response to COVID-19. Many have beefed up disinfecting
measures and eliminated areas of possible exposure, like comforters that
can’t be washed after each guest. If it’s a high-rise condo,
you can opt for the stairs to avoid crowded elevators.
Beach or pool
The risk is not the water itself -- between dilution and chlorine, it’s
a low risk. But the exposure to people in and near the water can present
a problem, especially for kids who may find it tough to keep a safe distance
from others. A beach is better in terms of wide open spaces, but crowds
have already been stacked at Alabama and Florida beaches, and people are
typically there for prolonged periods, which increases risk. If your family
does plan a beach trip, try going earlier in the morning to beat the crowds
and avoid any communal areas like public bathrooms and docks.
If you’re taking a road trip, it’ll be next to impossible to
avoid using a public restroom. Several factors come into play when looking
at the risk this poses, including the number of cases in your area, and
the size and ventilation in a bathroom. If the bathroom is clean and well
stocked with supplies like soap, paper towels and toilet paper, that’s
a good sign. Keep proper distance from others, wash your hands, and if
you touch something else like a door handle before you get back to your
car, use hand sanitizer.
The Great Outdoors
and isolated? Bonus. This is a lower risk activity, but keep in mind who you
camp with. Just like any other gathering, others in your group should
be limiting their own exposure. The risk goes up with any communal areas
like restroom and picnic areas, so you may have to adjust your normal
camping style to be more socially distant.
Hiking or Exercising outdoors
Many people have taken to the great outdoors to pass the time and stay
in shape while quarantined, and in general, it carries a low risk. If
you pass someone briefly on a trail or in the park, the risk is low. However,
some group sports are starting back up, so that can increase risk –
contact sports more so than, say, tennis.