Most countries around the world are now practicing self-isolation and social distancing. Non-essential businesses have closed their doors and many offices have embraced remote working. However, even with all these measures, there are instances when you might need to leave home.
In these scenarios, it’s good to observe the following practices to maintain effective social distancing.
Even with the disruption to most people’s work schedules, rush hour still exists. Expect an increase of foot traffic between 8-10am as people go to work, at noon around lunch break, and between 4-6pm as people head home. Try not to venture outside during these times; conduct your errands during off hours to minimize your contact with others.
While you’re outside, avoid touching surfaces as much as possible. If you have to, try not to use your fingers. Hit elevator buttons using your knuckles and push doors open using your shoulders. This minimizes the chance that you touch a surface infected with the virus. If you’re out for long periods of time, carry hand sanitizer with you so you can sanitize your hands every hour while outside.
While outside, it’s important to practice social distancing between you and others for everyone’s safety. A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least six feet of distance between yourself and other people when possible, whether it’s waiting in line, on the bus, or while walking down the street.
When you get home, it’s important to immediately wash your hands before doing anything else. This is important because you want your home to be clean and virus-free. Use soap and make sure it’s in contact with your skin for at least 20 seconds; this is the amount of time it needs to kill the virus. If you’ve been out for a long time, then taking a shower isn’t a bad idea either.
If you happen to have a stash of normal surgical masks at home and you’re venturing into a crowded area, then it doesn’t hurt to have this added protection. Just remember that surgical masks don’t offer effective protection for very long. N95 masks are more effective, but these are in critically short supply and should be saved for health care workers who come in contact with COVID-19 patients regularly. Another solution is to wear a bandanna or create your own mask out of cloth, then wash it regularly. That way, you’re saving essential medical equipment for people who really need it.