Health and Safety While Going to Voting Centers
Early voting is under way in North Carolina. If you’re heading to the polls to vote, taking extra precautions to stay safe and healthy is important. Zoe Stallings, MD, shares COVID-19 safety tips for voting is this 2 Your Well-Being discussion with WFMY News 2.
What is the best way that we can protect ourselves when we go out to vote?
“We still want to maintain the three W's. Think about the mask - … you want to cover your nose and your mouth with your mask. You should not have your mask pulled down below your chin because that means you're not covering your face. So still wearing your mask, also washing your hands and then waiting until there's enough room - six feet. We still want that social distancing, that is very important.”
Is there anything I should bring with me to the polls this year?
“Yes, you can bring some wipes in a little Ziploc bag or even a little hand sanitizer with you because while you're waiting in line, if you have to sign anything or use a clipboard, you want to sanitize the pen or bring your own pen.
“Every polling site will have different rules, but when you go into vote, you can also wipe down surfaces before you start touching things. And then when you get back out, clean your hands again. Washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds would be ideal, but if you can't, go ahead and use some hand sanitizer.
“Also think ahead. If you know that you're going to vote, grab a snack, drink some water before you go to the line or bring a bottle of water with you so you stay hydrated. Maintain that social distancing, bring your hand sanitizer, clean your hands and keep your mask on the entire time.”
What should I do if I'm in line and I see people who aren't wearing their mask correctly or are standing too close?
“That’s important… We want you to start with you first. Protect yourself by putting your mask on and wearing it appropriately. You can even remind somebody by giving, you know, just a little signal [gesturing to your mask], like ‘your mask is down!’ Sometimes… it reminds them to pull it up. Also, if someone is inching a little bit closer to you could even say, ‘Excuse me. I just want you to make sure you maintain that distance.’
“Many of those facilities will have little markings on the ground, but if they don't, the way I think about it is you should have a full arm length out. So sometimes just doing a little stretch might remind the person next to you – ‘Give me a little room. I need some space.’”
Is there anything that we need to know before we head out to vote to keep us safe?
“I think that we really want to think about our overall health and well-being when we go out. Now is not the time to bring extra people with you. We still want you to remember that while people are in line, if you could leave the kids at home - I know that we want to teach our children civic responsibility, but this time maybe just have them read some things and watch the news - but don't bring a lot of unnecessary people with you.
“For our elderly, we want to make sure that we protect them, so they need to have their masks on the entire time they're out of the house. Once you leave the house put the mask on. While you're waiting to vote, keep the mask on. If you see a friend that you haven't seen in a while, refrain from hugging, keep your distance. It's okay to still have a conversation, but we don't need to go back as though this pandemic is not happening.
“The numbers are still going up, so we need to be careful and just very vigilant. Even though we are getting – some people are getting a little COVID fatigue, they're tired of wearing a mask, they feel like it doesn't make a difference - our data shows it does make a difference. So wear your mask, limit your contact with other people. Wash your hands, wear the mask the right way. If your nose is out, it's incorrect. I can't say that enough… Also, wash your hands when you're finished.”