The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidelines for reducing the risk of spreading or catching the novel coronavirus amid reopening efforts of several states. More people are expected to spend time outdoors because the easing of stay-at-home restrictions also comes during summer.
Some health experts fear that lifting lockdowns or reducing restrictions would give people a false sense of security amid the COVID-19 pandemic. People should stay aware of the presence and threats of the disease amid the reopening of their communities, according to CDC Director Robert Redfield.
“I know that the people are eager to return to normal activity and ways of life,” he said as quoted by CNN. “However, it is important that we remember that this situation is unprecedented, and that the pandemic has not ended.”
The new CDC guidelines, titled “Deciding to Go Out,” highlights the importance of the basic rules of life in 2020. When spending time outdoors to enjoy the summer heat, the agency said people should regularly wash hands, practice social distancing, wear face masks or coverings and disinfect surfaces.
The agency also provides specific tips for certain activities that would involve moving to places, attending gatherings or interacting with multiple people. When traveling, CDC said people should ask the motel or hotel about their cleaning policies and avoid elevators, fitness centers and game rooms where physical distancing is difficult.
Those who plan to host a cookout or other gathering should focus on the distribution of food and drinks. CDC said it is better to ask guests to bring their own food and drinks or assign one person to serve the food for lower risk of touching contaminated items or direct exposure to droplets from an infected person.
Arrange the tables and chairs based on social distancing guidelines. There should also be a list of guests for contact tracing.
When visiting restaurants, the agency recommends calling in advance to check if socially distant seating is available and to make sure the place follows safety measures. The risk of catching the coronavirus is lower if you sit outside and if food and beverage are not self-serve.
Aside from meeting with friends and families after weeks of lockdowns and isolation, many people also hope to get back to the gym after the reopening of their communities. The CDC suggests not using shared items that can’t be easily disinfected like resistance bands and weightlifting belts.
Vigorous exercises should also be done outside since infected people could release droplets carrying the coronavirus through breathing. The risk of inhaling or exposure to the droplets is higher in closed spaces, like gyms.
“As communities and businesses are opening, you may be looking for ways to resume some daily activities as safely as possibly,” CDC said on its website. “While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.”