It goes without saying that nobody expected 2020 to turn out the way that it has turned out so far. The last several weeks have been especially difficult, with businesses shutting down and people needing to stay at home. Though the measures seemed intense, they were necessary as a way for people to protect themselves and others in their community.
This isolation is finally starting to wind down, with many areas either reopening businesses or releasing a roadmap for reopening. This doesn’t mean that everything is immediately going back to normal, however. There are still some risks associated with going out in public, especially in certain parts of the country. Here are some things to keep in mind that will help you stay safe even as restrictions are lifted.
Social Distancing Is Still a Thing
One big thing to be aware of is that just because more places are opening doesn’t mean you can dismiss social distancing guidelines. When out in public areas, you still want at least six feet between you and those around you.
To help you navigate this, many stores and other places open to the public are placing tape, stickers or signs out to explain to you how far six feet is. Even if these indicators are not present, you can estimate six feet by picturing how much room you take up holding your arms out to your sides; if you are close enough that you could touch another person’s hand or arm if you both had your arms stretched out, then you’re a bit too close.
Avoid Crowded Public Spaces
Just because a place is open for business doesn’t mean that you have to visit it. Many businesses or other public venues that were closed will have a sudden rush of people who have been waiting to visit. This can be bad, as crowds make it difficult to maintain appropriate social distancing. Wait for things to clear out a little or choose a time early in the morning to avoid the crowds and keep yourself and others safe.
Use Curbside Purchasing
You may have already used some curbside pickup options while buying supplies during the lockdown period. As more shops open, many of them will offer curbside choices as well. Most will use pickup for online purchases, but some places such as pharmacies, vets and specialty stores may let you call in orders directly from the parking lot.
The principles for curbside pickup vary based on the specific store you’re visiting, but for the most part you simply pull into a specially marked space and give the shop a call. Let them know that you’re there to pick up an order and give the identifier for the space you are parked in and your name or order number. They’ll deliver the order to you with minimal contact.
Real Estate Concerns
The real estate market has been hit by the COVID-19 outbreak, with a handful of home buyers and sellers being hesitant to physically interact with each other. As things open back up and the economy starts to improve, we’ll likely see houses and showings.
Care should be taken to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed at all times. Doors, windows and any other barriers should be opened by the homeowner beforehand to reduce or eliminate the need for contact with surfaces inside of the home.
Home Improvement Options
While everything was in lockdown, a great deal of people put off home improvements and other non-essential activities that may attract new people into the home. Many switched instead to DIY jobs, and they’re still a great idea even as things start to return to something closer to normal.
With that said, you might be ready to bring in a contractor for your home improvement project. Just make sure to maintain distance away from any employees and check with the contractor to make sure that everyone will wear a mask or other facial covering while in your home.
Getting Out of the House
While we may not be completely back to normal, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get out of the house if you do so safely. To aid in preventing the spread of disease while outside, it is highly suggested that you wear a mask and maintain your distance from others. It is ok if things feel a little weird, and you are more than welcome to ease back into things at a pace that you are comfortable with.
Always remember that there are a lot of outdoor activities in parks and other public areas that let you stay away from crowds while still getting out of the house. Even if it’s just a small excursion, you may be surprised at how much good getting out can do after weeks of seeing the same four walls.