In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, it is imperative that everyone take precautions to safeguard their health and protect others in our communities, particularly those with underlying health conditions. Social distancing is essential to prevent community transmission of the virus. Unlike self-quarantine or isolation, social distancing places no locational constraints and instead focuses on behavioral practices to decrease the risk of exposure to the virus.
What is social distancing?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines social distancing as “remaining out of congregate settings [crowded public places], avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately six feet or two meters) from others when possible.”
The CDC recommends events with 50 or more people be canceled for the next 8 weeks and for individuals to maintain about six feet of personal space and to avoid public areas, such as shopping centers and movie theaters. Monday, the White House advised further precautions, and recommended that individuals avoid groups larger than 10 people over the next 15 days to slow the spread of the virus. Individuals should also refrain from physical contact in social situations such as handshakes, hugs and kisses, and should wash their hands frequently.
Below are some additional tips …
At the store:
- Make a list of everything you need prior to leaving the house
- Don’t buy unnecessary amounts of supplies
- Shop during off-peak hours to limit the chance of exposure to the virus
- Avoid touching your face when in public
- Use a disinfectant wipe to clean the cart or basket handle
- Upon leaving the store, use hand sanitizer
- Wash your hands immediately when you get home
On Public Transportation:
- Avoid public transportation if possible
- Scope out areas with the fewest passengers
- Limit the surfaces you touch with your hands
- Keep hand sanitizer available and avoid touching your face
- Wash your hands when you get to your destination
- Avoid sharing appliances (toilets and sinks) as much as possible and disinfect these areas frequently if you must share
- Frequently clean surfaces such as phones, computer key boards, remote controls
- Check in electronically with relatives and friends who are at a higher risk of illness
- If you exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 isolate yourself to protect others
Please keep these practices in mind when you are around others. The health and safety of you and your community is of paramount importance. In addition to practicing social distancing, please maintain proper hygiene by washing your hands frequently and/or using hand sanitizer. For more information about COVID-19 and how you can slow the spread, check out IEM’s Coronavirus resources.