Safely Interact With Others During Coronavirus Pandemic

May 27, 2020
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Months into the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., quarantine fatigue has set in. Social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19 remain in place and distancing continues to be recommended. However there’s an aching need for human connection, to see friends or family members who aren’t part of their own household. We just need to figure out how to do it safely as some measure of social distancing will likely be in place indefinitely, at least until there's an approved vaccine that's widely available. One of the first ways that social distancing guidelines have been loosened in parts of Canada and New Zealand has been to allow two households to agree to join their isolated “bubbles” together. There’s no official policy about merging bubbles in the U.S., so here is some advice on how to do it. Communicate about possible exposure. If one person in a household has a job that requires regularly interacting with people, such as working at a grocery store, then potentially everyone in your combined bubble may be exposed. Make sure you have a code of conduct with all in your bubbles. Everyone should be on the same page about things like how they interact with people while shopping, the frequency of grocery store runs, the protocol for accepting deliveries, and the rules about mask wearing. While doing so won't be risk-free, there are safer ways to have these interactions. So if your family or close friends are going to get together, consider doing so outside, at least 6 feet apart, while wearing masks and washing your hands as often as possible. You should also avoid sharing food. It's possible to lower the risks associated with indoor gatherings, too. The fewer people from different households involved, and the more distancing and mask wearing there is, the lower the risk will be. By carefully considering the people we interact with and doing so in the safest way possible, we can start to envision the new normal of social interaction, one key part of how we’ll live in a world transformed by the coronavirus pandemic.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports

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