The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Distancing
By Darien Davies
While our day-to-day actions for the past, oh, decades have centered around social interaction, the global environment as of late has called for quite the opposite. But what exactly is social distancing, and how the heck are we supposed to do it?
Social distancing is defined as a set of non-pharmaceutical infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease, which, in this pressing case, is the coronavirus. The goal of social distancing is to avoid human contact as much as possible so two people – or seven or 10 or 50 – cannot transmit the virus. During this time of uncertainly, especially being a few weeks or months behind other parts of the world, it might be difficult to fully grasp the severity of the current situation. But, flattening the epidemic curve and getting it as close to the premature chest of any 13-year-old you might know is worth the sacrifice. So if you’re confused on how much distancing you need to do, read on, but make sure it’s a party of one.
Can I kick back at bars and restaurants?
Re-read the paragraph above. Not only did Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis just pass an executive order stating that all bars, nightclubs and restaurants with seating for more than 10 people must close their on-site premises services, but they can also only operate their kitchens for take-out deliveries. So, if you absolutely must go out, pick a hole in the wall with less than 10 bar stools and don’t linger. But, let’s be honest. You haven’t been cooped up staring at your walls for two weeks like our Italian friends, so you should be able to manage avoiding social drinking and eating.
Can I have a small shindig at my house with close friends?
Cough, cough (into my elbow), but that doesn’t sound like distancing yourself socially, does it? The point of social distancing is to avoid sharing your space with others, regardless of how much you like said people. The problem with get togethers is that, and bear with me here, each person had to come from somewhere to get to you. So let’s say you plan dinner and Checkers. Each of your guests, who, like you, aren’t taking social distancing seriously, went to the grocery store to pick up some items to bring to your house. They shared space with other people in the store, touched items other people have touched, and maybe walked through a cough cloud or two. Sure, if that sounds all fine to you, go for your Saturday night soiree!
Can I go for a walk outside, can I walk with a friend, or go to the gym?
Yes, maybe, and you should definitely avoid it. If you don’t feel ill, aren’t showing any symptoms, and haven’t come into contact with anyone who is or has been sick, taking a stroll outside can do you some good. Fresh air and Vitamin D never hurt anyone, right? Now, if you want to go on a walkabout with your neighbor or friend, that should be totally fine, as long as your friend is in the clear, too. Just make sure you’re not walking closely to each other and that you don’t pick a new walking buddy each day. Now, it would be prudent to skip the gym, too. Regardless how well the machines are cleaned, the sheer amount of people sweating it out proves to be too much social and not enough distancing. But, again, head outside for a run or walk, or hit up YouTube for some at-home workouts.
Should I cancel my birthday party or wedding?
Probably. While this seems like a crazy idea since you’ve been planning this fiesta for months, it’s important to make sure you’re not hosting events that include lots of people who will more than likely be socializing in close quarters. If cities can cancel their parades, schools can cancel class, and zoos/libraries can close their doors for the unforeseeable future, maybe you can reschedule your event to a later date. Yes, it’s unfortunate, and yes, birthday parties are best spent with others. But, if we want to have more Coronas and less coronavirus at future events, it’s important we contain it as much as we can now.
Bottom line is that if you’re unsure whether or not your desired activity or idea is safe to enjoy, there’s a good chance it’s not. The safest way to help flatten the coronavirus curve is to maintain as much safe social distancing as possible, starting today. Think of activities you can do by yourself (wink), such as finishing that book you’ve been using to level your table, writing that business plan you’ve been thinking about, or simply taking some time for yourself to relax and recenter. If we all do our part and start now, we can kick coronavirus to the curb and ensure a safe summer ahead.