Staying Safe This Summer as NC Reopens: 11 Activities Rated for COVID-19 Risk
Humans are social beings. We want to go outside, meet with our friends and enjoy the company of others. On top of that, warm and sunny weather is inviting us to venture outdoors for our favorite summer activities. But as our community faces the COVID-19 pandemic and North Carolina moves through the phases of reopening, how do we stay safe? Learn more about high-risk versus low-risk activities and get tips for minimizing your risk for COVID-19 in the list below.
Please note that risk can vary between different people based on their individual health. Those with higher risk for COVID-19 should keep their elevated risk in mind when considering which activities are safe. Additionally, it is important to follow local laws and guidance about protecting yourself and your community from COVID-19.
Exercising or Spending Time Outdoors: Low Risk
Being outdoors is one of the best ways to enjoy summer, and it is a low-risk activity as long as you maintain a safe distance between yourself and others. Risk goes up depending on how close you are to someone and how long you are close to them – so staying at least 6 feet apart from others is key.
Spending Time on the Beach or at the Lake: Low Risk
If you’re setting up to spend the day on the beach or the lake, make sure to keep about 20 feet of space between your family’s camp and the camps of others. You can also minimize exposure to others by going at times when crowds are often smaller, such as early morning or late afternoon.
Swimming in a Community Pool: Low Risk
The risk of spreading COVID-19 through water is low, but it can still spread through close contact. Make sure every member of your family – including your kids – knows to practice social distancing both in and out of the pool. As long as it’s possible to keep a safe distance between yourself and others, swimming in a community pool is a low-risk activity.
Hosting or Going to a Small Backyard Get-Together: Low Risk
Staying outdoors, wearing masks and keeping 6 feet between yourself and others helps lower the risk of spreading COVID-19 at small backyard get-togethers. Make sure everyone at your gathering sticks to social-distancing strategies the whole time you are together – meaning you are just as strict about social distancing at the end of the party as you were at the beginning.
Going Camping: Low Risk
Camping is a great option for a low-risk summer adventure, but like other activities, the risk level depends on your exposure to others. Make sure you can keep a significant distance between your camp and the camps of people you don’t know or don’t live with. Additionally, when interacting with others outside of your group, keep a safe distance of 6 feet.
Shopping at a Mall: Moderate Risk
There are many factors that determine the risk level of shopping in a mall, so it’s important to use your best judgment when choosing safe spaces to shop in. Outdoor malls may have a lower risk level than indoor malls. Stores that are following social-distancing guidelines, like limiting crowds and encouraging the use of face masks by both employees and shoppers, may also have a lower level of risk.
Dining in at a Restaurant: Moderate to High Risk
The risk level of dining in at a restaurant depends on whether or not the restaurant is following strict social-distancing and cleaning guidelines. If they are following these guidelines, the risk is lower. You can also help lower your risk by making sure that you’re able to sit at least 6 feet away from other tables. The further away you’re able to sit, the better.
Going to a Bar or a Nightclub: High Risk
Bars and nightclubs are closely packed social areas – it is very difficult to maintain social distancing, wear a mask, consume alcohol and socialize safely all at the same time. Additionally, alcohol can impair judgment and make it difficult for people to stick to social-distancing guidelines.
Hosting or Attending Weddings With Large Groups of People: High Risk
It’s hard to maintain social distancing at a wedding – weddings are all about celebration with loved ones. Having a celebratory gathering of dozens or hundreds of people makes it extremely difficult to maintain safety through social distancing.
Attending Indoor Religious Services: High Risk
There is a heightened risk of spreading COVID-19 in any situation that people are close to each other for long periods of time, especially if they are indoors. Additionally, many of the activities people might engage in at religious services – like singing or speaking out loud together – increase the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading through droplets in the air. Holding religious services outside and making sure people are able to keep a safe distance between each other can help lower risk.
Getting a Haircut: High Risk
The process of getting a haircut involves spending a long period of time close to another person. Additionally, hairstylists will be in close proximity to a lot of different people throughout their day. Even if you’re wearing a mask, the amount of time spent close to another person in order to get (or give) a haircut makes this a high-risk activity.