Summer 2020 is going to look different from what we're used to in so many ways. We're coming off several months of lockdowns and social distancing, and we still see the effects of this.
Countries around the world completely shut down in many ways, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Most states are in their reopening periods now, and some are reopening more quickly than others. Even when states are reopening, they're putting limitations on things like crowd size.
There's also likely to be fewer if any big events this summer, such as concerts and sporting events. Many festivals and other large events have been canceled or pushed off, some until next year.
Even with the coronavirus pandemic, that doesn't necessarily mean you won't find yourself in a crowd this summer.
Some events are resuming, and there have also been a number of protests and demonstrations around the country in response to the George Floyd situation.
If you think you might be in a crowd this summer, or perhaps in the fall, when things start to pick up more, the following are ways you can stay safe and healthy.
Avoid Crowds If You're High-Risk
We're still learning a lot about the coronavirus, and even though it can seem like the pandemic is over because life is returning to normal, that's not necessarily the case.
If you're high-risk, you might continue to avoid crowds during the summer.
So how do you know if you should avoid crowds?
Of course, it's fully your choice, but the following are groups that are advised to be cautious to return to places where social distancing may not be possible.
People over the age of 65
Someone with cancer
An individual with hypertension
People with conditions that compromise their immune system or who take medicines that suppress the immune system
Individuals with diabetes
Someone with lung disease
Someone with obesity
If you are someone who may be high risk, along with avoiding crowds, you might want to have someone close to you run errands for you whenever possible.
Other Ways to Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus
Whether you're high-risk or not, there are other simple steps all of us can take to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, even if we're returning to normal activities this summer.
For example, if you're sick, you should never be in a crowd, and you should stay home.
You should bring your own disinfecting wipes with you wherever you go so you can clean frequently-touched surfaces.
Hand hygiene is also a big part of protecting yourself. Hand hygiene includes not just frequently washing your hands or sanitizing them when washing isn't possible but also making sure you're not touching your face, including your nose and eyes. If there's someone around you who's coughing, avoid them and that person should cover their cough with their elbow or a tissue.
Coronavirus primarily spreads from person-to-person. It's still unclear whether or not asymptomatic people can spread the virus, and research is mixed so far, which is why wearing a face-covering continues to be encouraged. Someone with coronavirus, even if they don't have symptoms, could emit aerosols when they talk.
An aerosol is a viral particle that can linger in the air.
The CDC recommends everyone wear nonsurgical masks when they're in public. If you are caring for someone who has covid-19 or you have any respiratory symptoms, you should wear a surgical mask.
Social distancing should still be followed even if you're in a crowd, at least as much as you can. This means keeping at least six feet between you and anyone else.
Other Ways to Stay Safe and Health In Crowds
Along with the tips above, if you are going to be in a crowd this summer, keep the following in mind:
Keep your hands in your pockets whenever possible. This is a good way to avoid germs.
If you're going somewhere especially crowded, such as to a demonstration, you should arrange a place where you can meet the other people you're with in case you get separated.
If there's ever a stampede at any event or in any crowd, you should try to move sideways to the rest of the crowd until you get to the wall or you find an exit. If you can find a wall, push yourself against it and wait until the crowd starts to dissipate.
Depending on where you're going and what you're going to be doing, it can be smart to bring your own lunch. Now is an especially important time to think about food safety, who's touching your food, and how it's being prepared.
Take tissue with you if you can. Toilet paper can quickly run out if you're at a crowded event.
If you're going somewhere with your kids, take a picture of them before you head out. This will ensure you have a current photo of your kids in what they're wearing at the event, in case you get separated.
Always be mindful of everything that's happening around you. Scan the crowd frequently, and if you think someone is behaving in an odd way or doing something dangerous, let event staff know or just leave the area.
Before you attend any event, research it thoroughly. Figure out how many people are expected to be there, and that will help you be able to prepare better and map out how to socially distance and be safe.
If things start to feel like there's a shift in the energy, then you should leave. Crowded events can quickly turn rowdy.
Again, summer 2020 may look different for many of us, but at the same time, we might also be venturing out more. If so, you should be vigilant about your health and your personal safety.
Remember that the coronavirus pandemic is still happening first and foremost, and take all the steps that are best for you to avoid contracting it. Be aware of what's happening around you, and make smart decisions anytime you're in a crowd.