As the country moves out of lockdown, we are faced with new decisions. We may have disliked being quarantined in our houses with only our dog and Netflix for company, but we knew what was expected of us: stay home as much as possible. However, as more and more businesses are reopening and restrictions are being lifted, we now have more responsibility in choosing where to go and who to see. These are important decisions, so here are four tips on how to handle the new new uncertainty:
Knowledge is power and certainty. The more you know, the better decisions you can make for yourself. The CDC website has information on the best ways to protect yourself. You should also keep up-to-date with your local news sources to see if your area is particularly at risk. The COVID situation is constantly changing, so make sure that you are staying informed with the latest updates.
As reentry begins, some people, maybe your best friend or your mom, will want to get together after nearly three months apart. You may get invited to parties, dinners, or board game nights. But if you decide that you are uncomfortable with a certain social interaction, you have to get comfortable with saying “No.” It is your right to keep yourself and loved ones safe. Your friends and family have to respect your decision to take precautions.
If you do want to go to a store or meet up with a friend, be unafraid to ask what health and safety measures they have been taking. If your friend has been going out in public without wearing a mask, or a business doesn’t enforce 6 ft spacing, you deserve to know so that you can make an informed decision. It is a perfectly reasonable question to ask, and if they refuse to answer or give an answer you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll know that interaction isn’t worth the risk.
If you are feeling uncertain about whether or not you should go out or meet up with someone, know that it’s okay to default to safety. The CDC currently recommends avoiding close contact with other people to protect yourself against the virus. So if you do choose to stay home, you are helping keep yourself and others safe. Especially in these uncertain times, if you feel that even if you did go out, you would just be worrying the whole time, save yourself the stress and stay home instead.
Just because you can leave your house, doesn’t mean you should or have to. Some people, such as health workers or people with economic insecurity, need to go out to help sustain society. If you have the privilege of being able to stay at home, you can do so knowing that you are helping to decrease risk as we begin to reentry.