As vaccinations roll out in the United States, it’s tempting to jump in with both feet and start attending concerts, eating in restaurants, and traveling again. However, until the majority of the population is vaccinated, that may not be the best option. Individuals who have had the COVID-19 vaccine may still spread the virus, and it’s possible to catch COVID-19 even after being vaccinated.
As you socialize this spring, stay safe using the following tips:
Mask Up For In-Person Meetings
Wearing a mask doesn’t take the place of careful social distancing. When you’re meeting in person around people that you don’t live with, it’s important to both wear a mask and stay six feet apart. However, wearing a mask and asking that they do so as well can help dramatically limit the spread of COVID-19 from one person to another. If you’ll be attending indoor social events, be sure to take masks for each member of your family.
Wash Your Hands
One of your best weapons in the fight against COVID-19 is actually quite simple — regular handwashing. Wash your hands with soap and water once an hour or so when you’re out and about, and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, be sure to pack hand sanitizer and use it frequently. Keeping your hands clean helps dramatically limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus as you touch surfaces.
Text About Current Events
Twenty years ago, only about 11% (around 3,400) of state police and highway patrol had video cameras in their cars. Now it’s estimated that over 70% of these vehicles use in car video systems. These cameras, as well as social media platforms and up-to-the-minute news, make it easy to know what’s going on in a given location before you leave your home. Text about current events with your friends and family before you hit the road, sharing information about roadblocks, civil unrest, or accidents as necessary. This can help keep everyone in the family safe in these uncertain times.
Limit Contact with Shared Items
While attending social gatherings, do your best to limit contact with shared items and communal spaces. Places like public bathrooms, shared sinks, and water fountains can all be hot spots for contamination. Instead, use the restroom before you leave home, pack your own hand sanitizer, and bring a water bottle or drink with you. Many venues will also have made adjustments to accommodate for COVID-19, including adding hand sanitizer stations, closing water fountains, and only offering single-serve beverages.
Have a Virtual Happy Hour
One safe way to socialize without exposing yourself to COVID-19 is to attend or host a virtual happy hour from home, using video conferencing software. Choose your favorite wines or spirits, plan a date and time for everyone to get together, and provide a conferencing link. You may even want to add a list of new wines to try and stage a virtual wine tasting. If you opt for this type of event, consider adding some California wines to the line-up. California is actually the fourth-largest supplier of wine worldwide, followed by France, Spain, and Italy.
Socializing in the COVID-19 era can be difficult to get used to, but it’s important to make safe lifestyle choices for you and those around you. If you’ll be going out in public, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Keep happy hours virtual when possible, and stick to locations where you’ll have access to handwashing facilities or pack your own hand sanitizer. Avoid using shared bathrooms and water fountains, as well. These tips can help limit the spread of the virus and keep everyone safe while vaccinations roll out throughout the country.