Summer is officially here!! You know what that means — it’s time for all the summer-fun activities!! There’s pool time, hanging with friends, road trips, hotels, vacations, and oh-so-much more.
BUT, there is a virus out there. It’s hiding behind every corner just ready to pounce at the most inopportune moment. How do we know what summer activities are safe, and which ones we should avoid?
Don’t worry. We got ya! We have scoured the CDC website, the Mayo Clinic website, and other expert sites to find the things you should do, should avoid, and should modify!
Going to a pool party:
It’s all about social distancing here. If you are able to maintain a socially acceptable distance of 6 feet, it is probably okay to be at the pool. The CDC suggests wearing a mask when you aren’t in the water.
Of course, if you have a PERSONAL pool at your house, that is going to be safer than a public pool, where there are tons of people you don’t know — and sometimes can’t avoid.
Your risk for exposure goes up if you are interacting with people that aren’t in your immediate family.
Eating indoors at a restaurant:
According to the CDC, eating outdoors, or in a restaurant where the windows are open, is safer than eating indoors at a closed up restaurant.
It is very important to maintain that social distancing, even when you are sitting down to eat at a restaurant. The farther away you are from other people, the better.
It is also important that you try not to share items. Forks, spoons, plates, drinks, menus — if it’s difficult to sanitized between each use, don’t share it.
Eating outdoors at a restaurant:
It is safer to eat OUTDOORS at restaurants, than to sit in closed-in spaces with other people.
Stay at least 6 feet from the next group enjoying the restaurant. It is safer to wear a mask when you aren’t eating.
When you go inside to use the restroom, or if you have to wait for a table inside, make sure you are wearing a mask. You also want to be aware of social distancing.
Road tripping with family:
A road trip with your family, is probably safer than sitting in a plane or on a train with the general population.
If you have to stop to get gas, eat, go to the bathroom, etc, make sure you wear a mask — especially if it is hard to social distance. Also, keep those hands washed!
Using a public restroom:
This can be disgusting under NORMAL circumstances, let alone when there is a risk for catching the coronavirus. The germaphobe in me is having a panic attack just thinking of this subject.
Flushing toilets can cause droplets of the virus to disperse in the bathroom. Gross, huh?!? That being said, public restrooms can be more risky. BUT, when you gotta go, you gotta go, right?
Social distance. You don’t want to wait in a closed up bathroom with a bunch of other people. Wait outside the restroom until your turn, if possible.
Wear a mask. Wear a mask. Wear a mask.
Make sure you wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. DON’T use those hand dryers that blow air around. Try not to touch surfaces — use paper towels to open doors, turn off faucets, etc.
Staying in hotels:
Here is what I would personally do — I’d bring my OWN pillow and blankets, but I do that even when the coronavirus isn’t a real risk.
Hotels are aware of the risks, and many of them are doing deep cleaning in between each set of people in the room. They are wiping down surfaces, vacuuming, and laundering things like pillowcases and sheets.
Call the hotel before you go, and ask what their procedures are for cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19. Ask if all their employees are required to wear masks. Ask about virtual check in and check out, to limit your exposure to people. Just use your head, and be safe.
Going to the beach:
Much like going to a pool, make sure you are remembering and following the rules of social distancing.
Set your blanket or chairs up at least 6 feet from other beach goers. Wear your mask when you can’t get 6 feet from other people.
Don’t wear your mask in the water, but also don’t swim in close proximity of other people.
If you can’t follow these guidelines, it is just safer to stay home. I know it sucks, but it’s not FOREVER, it’s just for NOW. Better safe than oh-so-sorry.
Having an outdoor barbecue:
If any guests are experiencing symptoms, or have been exposed to the virus in any way, ask them to stay home this time. Y’all can get together at a later time.
Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs.CDC
It is better to have an outdoor barbecue, than an indoor dining party. Don’t hug, shake hands, first bump, etc. This risks inadvertent exposure to the virus.
Set up chairs and such so you can try to maintain that 6-feet of social distancing that is so crucial to preventing spread of those infected germy droplets.
Have sanitization stations set up, so people can clean their hands often. Also, use single-use silverware, cups, plates, etc, and throw them away immediately after use.
Going to a farmers market (one of my FAVORITE summer activities):
Just like at a restaurant, open air markets are going to be safer than shopping indoors.
Wear your face mask, social distance, frequently sanitize your hands — you know, all the things we should be doing for everything!
Try not to touch things you aren’t going to buy. Some farmers markets that I have been to even have single use gloves to pick up the fruit and veggies. I love this!! It makes me feel so much safer. Less hands touching your food, the better!!
Always wash off your food when you get home. You DON’T need to use bleach or anything. In fact, DON’T use bleach. But, use some water and give the fruits and vegetables a good scrub down.
Using the ATM to get money out to do all the fun summer things:
Bottom line, try to do everything electronically. Money, itself, can carry bacteria, so it’s safer to use a debit card, credit card, or — even better — online apps when you are paying for all the things.
If you HAVE to use an ATM, make sure you stand 6 feet away from the person in front of and behind you. It is safer to wear a mask while you stand in line.
Have hand sanitizer ready. When you are done at the ATM, SANITIZE your hands! That keypad on the ATM is a disgusting contamination pad, and you want that funk off your fingers as soon as possible.
Getting gas isn’t really a summer activity, but you probably do more of it in the summer, right?
Use disinfecting wipes on handles and buttons before you touch them (if available).CDC
After fueling, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when you get home or somewhere with soap and water.
You don’t have to have a bummer of a summer. You can still have fun. Don’t do anything you aren’t comfortable with, and stay as safe as possible.
Use your head, wear your mask, social distance, and wash those hands. Have a good summer!!