Getting back to life with a 'new normal'
As public places begin to re-open, it is important to know that the risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 is still very real. It is okay and normal to feel more nervous or anxious while out in public. High-risk populations (age 65+, immunocompromised or other medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled) must be protected. While re-introducing people and places to your daily life, remember that it is still important to take precautions.
Use caution and good judgment anytime you are out in public to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy and safe. If you don't feel comfortable attending social events or gatherings with family and friends, tell them so and offer to visit virtually instead. If you do choose to gather in small groups, remember social distancing, face coverings and hand washing are all still very important to help prevent and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Wear a face covering in public places. Wearing a face covering is mandatory in some places and recommended by the CDC when social distancing isn't possible.
Make only essential shopping trips. The purpose of shelter in place and stay at home efforts is to keep you from transmitting the virus to others or acquiring it yourself. Arrive with a list and don't spend unneeded time inside stores. Avoid handling items you will not be purchasing.
Social distance as much as possible. Social distancing means anything from refraining from seeing friends and family in person outside your home to keeping distance between you and others when you do go out to the store or for a walk. Practice keeping six feet away from those outside your home.
Watch where you put your phone, purse or bookbag. Though it's a good idea to disinfect your phone with a wipe, another smart idea is to avoid placing your device (or your purse/bag) on public surfaces to begin with. Do you really need to put your item down, or can you just put it in a coat pocket, leave it on your shoulder or on a hook? The less you expose your items to a shared space, the better.
Put the reusable bags away for now. While reusable shopping bags are great for the environment, right now might be a time to press pause for a short period. If you want to lessen your environmental impact, find ways to reuse the store's fresh bags at home.
Disinfect shopping carts and baskets if you need to use one. Most stores offer sanitary wipes, for your safety. Be sure to wipe down your cart and basket handles before you use it. It's always a good idea to thoroughly wash your hands with soap before you leave home to protect others, bring your own sanitary wipes if you have them in case the store doesn't offer them and be sure to wash your hands, for at least 20 seconds, when you get home.
Whatever you do, touching should be off-limits. Resist the urge to hug, tap elbows, handshake or get anywhere closer than six feet. A warm hello, an air hug or a smile (whether covered or not) is always a nice gesture.
What areas are touched most in your home or car? Some culprits might include remote controls, keys, door handles and faucet handles.
Take the time to wipe down these items daily. Taking a few extra steps to keep yourself and others healthy can have a huge impact. Not only will they help keep you healthy, but they might ease feelings of anxiety and stress when you do need to venture out.