It’s been eight weeks since the coronavirus pandemic first sent the U.S. into a tailspin. In that time, governors in all but eight states issued stay-at-home orders to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Now, as some states move to reopen, you may be wondering how to keep yourself and your family safe as we venture into this new normal.
Sure, most of us are in desperate need of a haircut at this point, and it’s been far too long since we’ve been able to take a leisurely stroll around TJ Maxx, but with all of the noise in the media, how do we know what’s safe and what’s not?
Many experts have expressed concern over prematurely reopening communities. But, with more than 35 states implementing reopening procedures as we speak, it’s important to know what precautions to take.
Here are some tips for staying safe at work, in stores and more, when your state begins reopening.
Reopening Safety at Work
If you’re headed back to work as a result of your state reopening, it’s important to take your safety precautions up a notch. Depending on your job, you may be exposed to dozens of people or more simply by being in the office. Now is not the time to get apathetic about hand-washing and mask-wearing, but rather, the opposite.
- Practice social distancing as much as possible—this means going as far as waiting for the next elevator to minimize crowding, or even taking the stairs. Avoid communal areas, and take breaks outside or in your vehicle.
- Wash your hands regularly—using soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. Do this every time you touch a communal surface, and be mindful of door handles, elevator buttons, and hand rails.
- Wear a face mask anytime you leave your work area. If you work in an open environment, plan on wearing your mask all day.
- Create a routine of disinfecting your work space at different times throughout the day—when you arrive, after you take a break, and before you head home.
Reopening Safety at Restaurants
In some states, restaurants are allowed to seat patrons at 25 percent capacity. While experts still urge people to opt for takeout or delivery whenever possible, there are ways to make your restaurant dining experience safer in the coming months.
- Wear a face mask and only remove it to eat your food.
- Bring your own disinfecting materials to wipe down tables, seats, utensils, and menus.
- Avoid shared spaces like the restroom.
- Sit outside when possible, and keep your group separate from other restaurant patrons.
- Don’t eat with your hands.
- If you need to wait in line for service, maintain a distance of at least six feet between you and other patrons.
Reopening Safety at Stores
While essential businesses have remained open through all of the chaos, retail stores and other businesses are beginning to reopen their doors. It’s important to continue practicing social distancing, minimize your time spent in the store (meaning no escaping to Target to wander just yet), and be intentional about hand hygiene as soon as you leave.
- Experts suggest continuing to wear a face mask, and going to the store during off-hours—either early in the morning or later at night when it’s likely to be less crowded.
- Opt for grocery pick-up or curbside delivery to avoid crowding in the store.
- Prioritize stores that have implemented processes to reduce infection, such as limiting the number of shoppers, and spacing out lines. (Trader Joes is the ACTUAL best at this).
Reopening Safety at Salons
These little shops are sure to be some of the most crowded in the coming weeks as people flood in to touch up their locks. Consider avoiding these altogether until the initial reopening phases out.
- Most salons will require you to call ahead and schedule your appointment. Use this call to also ask about their safety measures.
- Only go to salons that space out appointments to physically distance customers.
- Wear a face mask and ensure your stylist is doing the same. This service requires direct contact and you won’t be six feet away from each other, so it’s important to take all other precautions very seriously.
- Avoid blow drying to reduce the spread of germs.
Reopening Safety at the Gym
It’s recommended that you only return to your gym or fitness center if they are limiting how many members are allowed in at the same time.
- Call ahead and ask about scheduled time blocks and what the facility’s cleaning and disinfecting policies are.
- You’ll also want to ask about whether or not you’ll have access to the locker rooms and bathrooms.
- Continue practicing social distancing at the gym, and use equipment that is at least six feet away from others.
There you have it, folks. I don’t have to tell you that these are strange times we’re living in! As states move to reopen, we all play a part in contributing the health and well being of everyone in our community. Stay safe, stay smart, stay apart.