Not being able to see family and friends takes an emotional toll. We are social creatures, after all. But even as some parts of the country begin lifting stay-at-home orders, it is important to remember the coronavirus has not changed. The risks of infection and spreading the virus are close to what they were two months ago. As certain areas begin to open up and restrictions are lifted, keep the following safety tips in mind when you start visiting friends and family.

Don’t Let Your Guard Down 

For many, it has been months since they have actually seen close family and friends. As excited as all of us are to reconnect, the dangers of the virus do remain, and we shouldn’t let our guard down. Just because quarantine is ending, it doesn’t mean we can forget the basics. Remember, when visiting your loved ones or going out in public, you should:

  1. Wash your hands properly (scrub with soap for at least 20 seconds, rinse, and dry with a clean towel) before going out and again when you return.
  2. Avoid touching your face.
  3. Limit activities or outings that cause unnecessary exposure.
  4. Keep practicing social distancing and staying at least six feet apart.
  5. Avoid unnecessary physical contact.
  6. Continue to exercise and eat healthy foods that support your general overall health.  
  7. If you feel sick at all, then stay home and wait to see your family and friends.

It is also important to remember that a person can spread the virus without showing symptoms, which is the reason for the current recommendation to use even a simple cloth mask to help prevent transmission of the virus by someone who has it but might not know it. So, don’t throw out your masks just yet – and if they’re cloth, be sure to wash them after each use.

Hold Off on Visiting High-Risk Family or Friends 

Although many of us would love to finally pay a visit to our grandparents, it is still best to wait. Even though some quarantine measures are being lifted, we are still a long way off from a potential vaccine that can protect the elderly and other high-risk groups from the coronavirus. This means the best measure for keeping our high-risk loved ones safe is to continue practicing social distancing.

According to U.S. government data, the individuals most at risk include those who:

  1. are 65 years and older (over 80, in particular)
  2. live in long-term care facilities
  3. have asthma
  4. are HIV positive
  5. have liver disease
  6. have any underlying chronic medical conditions

To help keep high-risk family and friends safe, for now it is best to continue the creative ways we have been connecting. That means video conferencing and frequent telephone calls to stay in contact, or even having a visit outside their window to say hello.

Avoid Confined Spaces

If you are planning to visit with family or friends, then make an effort to do so outside. Outdoor areas are considered generally safer. Being indoors is considered a higher risk because:

  1. You are in closer proximity to others, making it harder to stay apart
  2. You must account for airflow and airborne particles that spread more easily in a confined space
  3. It’s harder to avoid touching commonly used surfaces, such as countertops and door handles

So, if you do plan on meeting with friends or family, then consider meeting in an uncrowded park or outdoor area. And even outdoors, remember to keep practicing mitigation measures, such as avoiding physical contact and wearing a mask.

Keep It Small

Even when restrictions lift, it is still not the time for a house party or family reunion. If you are planning to visit loved ones, then keep it to as few people as possible. Depending on where you live, most places still encourage limiting groups to 10 or fewer. The AARP keeps an up-to-date website of the coronavirus restrictions by state.

Stay Up to Date 

Different states are taking different approaches to opening, so one of the best measures you can take is to stay up-to-date on local and state ordinances regarding the coronavirus and lockdown measures. Because as we have all seen, the virus has the ability to change our situation almost overnight, and there is the possibility that if cases do begin to surge again, lockdown measures could be put back into place.

For more resources regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our suggestions for maximizing COVID-19 mitigation measures, tips for dealing with social distancing, and some home workout suggestions.

An important note: No dietary supplement can diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, including COVID-19. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to understand that no dietary supplement, no diet, and no lifestyle modifications – other than the recommended social distancing and hygiene practices – can prevent you from being infected with the COVID-19 virus. No current research supports the use of any dietary supplement to protect you from being infected with the COVID-19 virus.