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How can I be sure I’m safe when going out?
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How can I be sure I’m safe when going out?

By Nick Hysmith, MD, Infection Prevention, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Posted: May 4, 2020

As we enter the reopening phase of the public health crisis created by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), businesses throughout our community will be resuming services.

People will be returning to their offices. Restaurants will open for sit-down service. Barber shops and hair salons will beginning taking appointments.

Related: How we're keeping patients safe as we resume services at MLH facilities

While we work toward developing a “new normal” — there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

What are the essential steps I need to take to ensure I’m being safe when returning to “normal” social life?

It’s important for you to establish what the “new normal” looks like for you and your family, and a big part of that is social distancing and wearing a face covering when out in public. We must continue to stay six feet or more apart, cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, continue to sanitize our home/work spaces and frequently wash our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Is it better for me to take it easy and not rush back into things?

We are seeing the coronavirus as a marathon, so it’s important that we still adhere to social distancing and other guidelines that are intended to keep us safe. 


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Are there precautions I should take when going back to sit-down restaurants?

With restaurants opening at limited capacity, it’ll be important that we sit at least six feet apart. We should also wash our hands or use hand sanitizer before and after leaving a restaurant. A new paper menu should be given to each guest and discarded after use.

I also think it’ll be valuable to have patience with each other and with the phased approached to opening businesses. It can be hard to hear others while wearing a mask. Restaurants may be on wait times, too. If you can bring more patience, understanding and kindness to these situations, that will be great for everyone.

What about gyms and workout facilities?

I think we are all ready to get out of the house, but you need to do what’s best for you. Take your time to adjust to this new normal, and if you aren’t feeling well, you still need to stay home.

If you do go to the gym or workout facility, take the extra time to wipe down and sanitize the equipment before and after use. You’ll also want to maintain social distancing the entire time.

Will I be safe going to my barber or hair stylist when they reopen?

Appointments should be spaced out so there are not gatherings of more than 10 people at a time. You should practice social distancing however possible, wear a face covering and wash your hands before and after.