- If you’re feeling healthy and practicing hygiene by washing your hands, there are some places you can venture to get supplies and much-needed outdoor time to reduce stress and loneliness during the coronavirus outbreak.
- Going to the bank, park, and grocery store are OK, but be sure to practice proper hygiene before and after visiting these spots. The CDC and some local governments also recommend or mandate wearing masks while in public.
- If a place is particularly crowded, you should avoid it and practice social distancing.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
As coronavirus pandemic-related anxiety mounts in the United States, people are unsure whether it’s safe to venture outdoors or if they’re better off spending all of their time inside.
It all depends on the types of places you’re considering venturing to, how many people are in those spaces, and whether or not you feel sick.
If you have any COVID-19 symptoms like a cough or fever, you need to stay home, disinfect often, and practice good hygiene. If you don’t have any symptoms, you should still be cautious and only leave home in essential situations like to get groceries, medicine, or for exercise.
There’s evidence that asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus, so it’s important to maintain at least six feet of distance from others and keep contact with those outside of your home to a minimum.
Here’s what you should know about going to the park, bank, and grocery store during the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.
It’s OK to go outside and get some fresh air during a run or walk. Just avoid crowded spaces.
Since gyms and group workout classes are held in enclosed spaces that could contribute to coronavirus spread, running, jogging, or walking outside is now a great exercise alternative.
If you’re planning to hit the road or trail for a run, you should still practice social distancing while outside.
“The general principle should be: Outside is better than inside, open is better than closed, fewer is better than more people, and stay away from sick people,” Dr. Erich Anderer, a neurosurgeon and a founding member of the North Brooklyn Runners, previously told Insider.
If you’re considering spending time at a park or playground, double down on hand-washing.
If you want to take your kids outdoors, it’s a great way to reduce stress. According to Dr. Lee Riley, a professor and Chair of the Division of Infectious Disease and Vaccinology at UC Berkeley, spending time on playground equipment is OK in certain circumstances.
In addition to making sure there aren’t too many other people on the playground, Riley told Insider parents should disinfect equipment with alcohol-based wipes before playing, and their children’s’ hands after playtime.
Once you get home, you and your kids should thoroughly wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm and soapy water.
You should avoid restaurants and bars right now. Many cities have shut down these establishments to prevent crowds and coronavirus spread.
Cities like New York and Philadelphia have mandated restaurants and bars close their dine-in operations for the time being to help with social distancing, a public health strategy used to limit human interaction in order to prevent the spread of infectious illness.
Since eating and drinking at restaurants, bars, and cafes requires close human contact with servers and other diners, it’s best to avoid these establishments for the time being.
It’s also safe to order food for takeout or delivery. Doing so could help your community businesses.
Right now, it’s a good idea to stick to take-out food that you get delivered or pick up at your favourite restaurant, Sue Ann Bell, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and expert on the health effects of disasters, previously told Insider.
Services like UberEats and DoorDash have smartphone apps that make obtaining your meals without setting foot in the facility simple, which is especially helpful for elderly or immunocompromised people who are at higher risk of infection, Bell said.
Feel free to pick up groceries, but avoid crowded supermarkets.
Even if you’re young and feel healthy, it’s best to avoid places with crowds right now.
Riley said it’s safe to head to your local grocery store to stock up on food and supplies, but be wary of where you put your hands.
He said that it’s important you don’t touch your face while grocery shopping and to wash up right when you get home.
The CDC recommends wearing masks while in enclosed public spaces like the grocery store.
Additionally, if you have a condition like hypertension, heart disease, or diabetes, you should stay home and ask someone to get groceries and medicine for you.
If you need to get cash out at the bank or deposit a check, use the self-service kiosk.
Riley said it’s still fine to head to your local bank to get out cash or deposit checks, but using the ATM or self-service kiosk outside of the facility, rather than stepping foot inside, can help limit germ spread.
Just be sure to use hand sanitizer or wash your hands after touching the buttons on the machines.
Try to avoid public transit. If you have to take it for work, look for less crowded cars and practice proper hygiene.
For some people, there’s no avoiding public transit right now, especially if they work in service industries or don’t have paid time off from their jobs.
If you must take the subway or bus, Riley suggested finding a train car or bus that doesn’t have too many people inside so you can put distance between yourself and others to prevent coronavirus spread.
“It’s not easy to do. If you have to go to work, after you use public transport, wipe your hands and be careful,” and don’t touch your face until you’ve done so, Riley said.
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