6 Things To Remember When (Safely!) Hanging Out With Friends This Summer

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How To Avoid Coronavirus Exposure When Socializing With Friends This Summer
Health And Wellness

Have a summer to remember while minimizing risk.

Remember coronavirus? Turns out that’s still happening.

A couple of months ago when we were all house-bound and suffering from cabin fever, things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse. But now we’ve somehow entered an even more bewildering time.

States like New York are slowly opening after being one of the worst affected areas for months, and Florida and Arizona are rapidly imposing restrictions as their COVID-19 cases soar.

I don’t know if we just got bored of talking about it, or if it’s because more pressing issues of racial injustice finally caught our attention, but coronavirus is slowly being forgotten about. (It’s possible to focus on more than one issue at once, people!)

Even amidst all this confusion, one thing is for sure: America remains one of the countries worst affected by the coronavirus.

This means that even though we’re all itching to get back to normal life and redeem summer 2020, we must acknowledge that we’re not in the clear just yet. I’m not saying cancel your house parties and beach days, but proceed with caution.

Here's how to safely hang out with friends, while avoiding coronavirus exposure when socializing.

RELATED: 10 Ways To Have A Summer Vacation While Social Distancing

It's important to stay aware and minimize your exposure while keeping plans.

1. Stay outdoors.

The coronavirus is spread via droplets that fly through the air when a person coughs, sneezes, or speaks around you. So, it’s not surprising that the risk of infection is significantly higher in poorly ventilated areas.

Outdoors, fresh air, and wind mean viral droplets are more likely to be carried away rather than landing directly on you. There’s also a lot more space for us to spread out and keep a safe 6-foot distance, as recommended by the CDC.

So, before you organize a cozy movie night or group sleepover, maybe opt for a nature walk or picnic in a park instead. Think of this as the universe’s way of telling you to make the most of summer weather after spending months isolating indoors.

2. Avoid public pools.

If you or someone you know has a private pool at home, they’re about to get extremely popular.

Pools that are cleaned properly with chlorine and bromine shouldn’t spread the virus, according to the CDC, but public pools are filled with high-touch surfaces from lockers and doors, to ladders and deck chairs.

If you’re desperate for a dip in your local pool, try to avoid the locker rooms and restrooms, because these enclosed spaces are hotbeds for the spread of the virus. Some research has even shown that flushing toilets can cause viral droplets to spray into the air.  

RELATED: 11 Fun Ideas For Summer Activities With Kids During Coronavirus

3. Keep a small social circle.

All this might be good news for you if you were planning a pool party, but before you send out any invites, remember to keep your circle small. This goes for all your social events, too!

Stick to just meeting up with the same few friends if you want to truly minimize your exposure.

Remember that each person you encounter is also seeing people, visiting grocery stores, or working with the public. That means every social outing brings new risks.

Now is not the time to reconnect with every single person in your contact list! Stick with your closest friends and save the large reunions for another time.

4. Spread out on the beach.

If the outdoors is safe, but public pools aren’t, where does that leave the beach? The simple answer is: there’s no simple answer.

You’re definitely better off chilling outside at the beach than in a cramped bar or restaurant, but as we’ve seen in Florida, a lot of beach-goers aren’t getting this whole social distancing thing.

Try to avoid a packed beach by going early in the morning or in the evening to swim, and catch some rays when there are less people around. Remember that you are part of the crowd.

If you feel like you and your pals can’t keep a safe distance from each other or other people, consider moving to a quieter area, even if you were there first!

RELATED: 6 Ways To Have A Safe, Socially Distanced BBQ Or Summer Party During Coronavirus

5. Avoid clubs and bars.

Has anyone ever been to a nightclub and stayed 6 feet away from people at all times?

It sounds awkward and unenjoyable, if you ask me! Plus, it also seems to be unsafe. Just look at Arizona, which has shut down all their bars and nightclubs again this week.

A lot of restaurants are adapting to new rules and enforcing strict social distancing, but in bars, this can be a little more tricky. Go out for a meal with your friends or opt for some takeaway drinks so you can support business while keeping a safe social distance.  

6. Be cautious. 

Don’t forget that until a couple of months ago, no one had even heard of coronavirus.

As coronavirus cases continue to fluctuate, research, rules, and restrictions are changing rapidly. This means it’s so important to stay informed, even as we try to get back to some semblance of normality.

It might feel like things are finally starting to relax, but now is when we need to be more cautious than ever.

Instead of isolating safely at home, we’re now back out in the world encountering risks several times every day. Stay attuned to your health and the health of those around you so you’re not spreading the virus.

RELATED: 3 Ways Coronavirus Is Destroying The Environment & Impacting Climate Change

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Alice Kelly is a writer with a passion for lifestyle, entertainment, and trending topics.

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