CDC Issues Safety Guidelines For Going Out As Communities Reopen

by Madison Vanderberg
Originally Published: 
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CDC issues guidelines on how to safely return to recently reopened businesses

As counties across the U.S. begin to reopen, many people wonder how they’re going to return to pre-pandemic activities in a new, safer way fit for a post-COVID-19 world. The CDC has finally released their long-awaited list of “guidelines” for venturing outside, because while it’s true that many counties and cities have announced that it’s possible to patronize previously closed establishments like restaurants, hair salons, and gyms, local health officials haven’t really told us the safest ways to return to those businesses. On Friday, June 12, 2020, the CDC issued guidelines for activities they anticipate people might want to do now, including hosting a cook-out to going out to eat.

The fact remains that the threat of coronavirus still exists and at least 14 U.S. states have seen a drastic uptick in COVID-19 cases since the country started to relax the lockdowns, so if you choose to patronize a business now, precautions are extremely necessary. And again, this is not a list of activities that the CDC encourages that you participate in, but rather, if you’re going to get your nails done, this is the best way to do it.

The CDC continues to stress the importance of wearing a mask and practicing six-feet-apart social distancing no matter where you go and said that anyone venturing outside should always have a cloth mask, tissues, and hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol) on hand. However, as much as we’d like an easy list of activities that are “safe” or “not safe,” that isn’t in the CDC guidelines. Per the CDC, the only activities that they consider “safer” are the ones where you “can maintain at least 6 feet of space between you and others.” They also stated that indoor activities are “riskier” than outdoor activities and interacting with anyone not wearing a face mask is a risk as well.

That all being said, the CDC listed out a series of events, errands, and locations many people are likely to frequent in the coming weeks and their best practices for navigating these spaces. For each of these, the CDC expressly states the importance of washing your hands for 20 seconds when entering and exiting any location, and upon returning home. Also, hugging and shaking hands is a thing of the past. The CDC encourages waving as a new way to greet a person. Here are a few of the CDC’s new guidelines.

Eating at a restaurant: Avoid buffets and any restaurants with self-serve stations. Call ahead to ask if the staff are wearing masks. Try to sit outside and don’t use the valet.

Hosting a party or gathering: If hosting a party, hold the event outside. Seat furniture six feet apart, but guests from the same household can sit closer together. Encourage face masks and even provide them for guests. Encourage guests to bring their own food, but if providing communal food, have one person designated to serve everyone. Use paper towels instead of cloth towels for hand drying.

Going to the gym: Avoid indoor group classes if you can’t practice social distancing. Bring all your own hand-equipment (i.e. mats, water bottles, towels). Disinfect all heavy machinery before use. Avoid items that can’t be sufficiently sanitized between users like resistance bands and weightlifting belts. Wear a mask while doing low-impact workouts.

Staying in hotels: Call the hotel and ask what extra disinfectant and cleaning policies they’ve put in place, including asking if all staff members are wearing masks. Take the stairs or wait until the elevator is empty and ride only with other members of your household.

Check out the CDC’s website for the full list of activities and precautions including the CDC’s new guidelines for hosting a large event (like a wedding) or attending one (like a protest). Stay safe out there!

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