Summer’s almost here. And after being cooped up for 2 months’ worth of Zoom calls in sweatpants, we’re all ready to get back into the swing of everyday life.
But the virus is still very much out there.
Unfortunately, until there is a vaccine or cure, there is no 100% safe way of being around other people right now. But some ways of re-connecting with friends and family are safer than others.
Going for a walk with a close friend 6’ apart? Go for it. Jumping into a swimming pool with 200 revelers at Lake of the Ozarks? Nope. Nopity nope nope nope. Just, nope.
Here are some tips for navigating life in public now that stay-at-home orders are being lifted.
1. WEAR A MASK
If you are anti-mask, we urge you to think again. Wearing a mask over your mouth and nose (don’t be one of those naughty nose-out types) helps protect people around you. You may be “shedding” coronavirus and have no symptoms – aka being asymptomatic. If we all wear masks, we can slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a mask shows others you care about them. Don’t use it as a substitute for social distancing, though. They aren’t perfect barriers.
2. DO KEEP PHYSICAL DISTANCING
We’ve all been hearing the mandates to stay two arms’ lengths apart. That’s pretty easy at the supermarket on a Tuesday afternoon, but when it comes to a backyard BBQ all your friends are excited for, things get dicey. All it takes to spoil your summer is one asymptomatic carrier mingling in a crowd. If you can’t wear a mask and keep 6’ apart from people you don’t live with, skip it. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your friends’ parents and grandparents who weren’t invited to the party and don’t deserve to get sick.
3. OUTSIDE IS BETTER THAN INSIDE
You know how at parties everyone crowds into the kitchen? Not anymore, they don’t. :( Small outdoor gatherings of fewer than 10 people, tops, are considered medium risk. It’s even safer if everyone on the invite list has been practicing social distancing themselves. Just don’t set up a communal cooler or snack tray -- this party needs to be strictly BYO Everything.
4. KEEP PARTIES SMALL
No more than 10 people, tops. Better if it’s just your household and one or two others, and you’ve all been social distancing.
5. GET IN AND OUT QUICKLY
Indoor gatherings, such as attending church or eating in a public dining room, are the best way to catch COVID-19. If you find yourself inside, stay 6’ away, avoid shared surfaces, wash your hands and don’t touch your face. Get back into the fresh, outside air as quickly as you can.
6. CARRY YOUR OWN HAND SANITIZER, WATER AND ANYTHING ELSE YOU NEED TO GET BY
If you haven’t become as attached to your trusty 99%-germ killing spray or gel as you are to your keys and iPhone, now’s the time. It’s also smart to carry drinking water so you don’t have to hunt through every dang cabinet in your brother-in-law’s germ-coated kitchen for a glass.
7. DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE WITH UNCLEAN HANDS
Hands are the express ticket for a virus to get from an infected doorknob, lightswitch or Pat Mahomes bottle opener to your respiratory tract. It’s not fair as human faces tend to be messy, itchy, sensitive things. But that’s the way it is. P.S. Gloves make no difference and in fact are more likely to be contaminated than bare hands.
8. WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS, CHECK YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Now is not the time to blissfully barrel through life, eyes locked on your Instagram feed, brushing past people without a care in the world. Curbside is still better than carryout, and carryout is way, way better than dine in. If you must enter a business, everything we’ve been harping on applies: six feet, mask, hands. But take a look at what others are doing. If they’re partying like it’s Y2K without masks and drinking from communal beer bongs, then it’s time to leave the Ozarks.
Comeback KC is a public-private partnership of a whole bunch of good organizations that want Kansas City to comeback not safer, stronger and better than we were before this whole COVID-19 mess.
Graphic design by Elizabeth Newell.