The number of COVID-19 cases is on an overall downward trend, according to data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This is great news but it doesn't mean you can let your guard down and return to all the activities you enjoyed before the pandemic.
It's still important to remain vigilant about flattening the curve and stopping the spread of coronavirus. While it's tempting to return to social outings and interactive activities, not everything is safe just yet. Here are seven things that are still considered risky to engage in during the pandemic. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Working Out at a Gym
Gyms and fitness centers have been slowly reopening and they're required to follow social distancing, limited capacity, and sanitization guidelines set by the CDC. In gyms, the virus can be spread by "touching or handling frequently touched surfaces and equipment, and then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes," according to the CDC.
Even if your gym is following the proper protocol, it's still possible to be exposed to COVID-19 during your workout. Consider working out at home or visiting your gym during off-hours, such as a weekday afternoon.
Attending Service at a Church
If you usually attend services at a large church, you may be missing your Sunday morning ritual. As churches begin to open for in-person service, they're being urged to promote healthy hygiene habits among attendees and workers, including frequent hand washing, according to the CDC.
Church organizers are also urged to encourage mask wearing among attendees, clean and disinfect frequently touched areas consistently, and ensure everyone practices social distancing. It's easy to get lax on these recommendations, especially if you attend a large service. If church attendees aren't wearing masks or it's hard to maintain a distance of six feet from each other, consider participating in online services for the time being.
Having a Drink at a Crowded Bar
Bars that are allowed to open in your area should be held to high sanitary and social distancing standards. But even if bars follow proper protocol, including limited capacity, you may not be safe from the coronavirus when going out for a drink.
"Bars are noisy, so you're yelling your drink order at the bar tender and other people are right by you — it's really a perfect environment for that shared air space which we get so worried about," says Dr. Sandra Kesh from WestMed Medical Group. If you don't feel an establishment is taking your health and safety seriously, consider having a cocktail at home instead.
Spending the Day at an Amusement Park
Most amusement parks are massive and in the time of the pandemic, they're required to implement a reservation system and limited capacity. For example, at Universal Orlando Resort, team members and guests are required to wear face masks and undergo temperature checks. The park implemented a staggered parking system to encourage social distancing and enhanced sanitation practices are also followed.
While that may seem to make the environment safe, you're still at risk for virus transmission at a theme park. You may be in tight quarters with other people when engaging in attractions or being transported to other areas of the park. If you don't feel you can adequately socially distance from other guests, even with restrictions in place, you may be better off skipping a day at the park.
Hugging a Sick Friend
When a friend isn't feeling well, you probably just want to give them some comfort. As humans, our first reaction is to give a hug or another physical sign of affection. But the symptoms for COVID-19 are varied and may affect people differently. Symptoms might include a fever with chills, a headache, sore throat, nausea, vomiting, or a runny nose, according to the CDC.
Even if your friend thinks it's the flu or a stomach bug, there's a possibility that it's coronavirus. A hug or any other close contact could spread the virus to you so it's best to provide comfort in another way. Send flowers, hop on a video chat, or send an encouraging text message.
Getting a Haircut
Since salons are beginning to reopen across the country, you may assume it's safe to finally get a haircut. But keep in mind, even if your stylist is following all precautions, such as wearing a mask and limiting the number of guests in the salon at one time, there's still no way to socially distance.
"There is no way to keep six feet of distance between you and your hairstylist. These services require close contact between two people," says Ravina Kullar, M.P.H., Pharm.D. from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. If you're high-risk for severe illness, live with a family member who's at high risk, or are simply a little nervous about catching COVID-19, you may want to wait a while before making an appointment with your hairdresser.
Attending a House Party
If your social group is getting a little antsy staying at home alone, keep in mind, a big indoor house party is still not safe. The safest way to interact with your friends during the pandemic is to only be around a small group of people (less than 10) in an outdoor setting where you can easily remain six feet apart, according to the CDC. If you receive an invite to a big house party, it's generally safer to decline. And to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.