If one thing is clear after months dealing with the coronavirus is that the virus is here to stay until we get an effective vaccine. But as the CDC states in its guidance for reopening, we can safely get back to doing the things we love in a thoughtful manner and by practicing social distancing and other healthy behaviors to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.
While nothing is without risk, there are some low-risk and moderate-risk activities to consider, as ranked by the Texas Medical Association. Please assume that participants in these activities are following currently recommended safety protocols when possible.
Low Risk Activities
Going camping, playing tennis, and getting restaurant takeout are actually on the low end of the spectrum when it comes to potentially being exposed to the virus. You can safely do these activities as long as you continue to practice healthy behaviors, like washing your hands, keeping a physical distance from others, wearing a mask, and not touching your face.
Low-Moderate Risk Activities
Playing golf, going to a museum, spending an hour at the playground, and staying at a hotel for two nights are considered low-moderate risk activities. Going for a walk, run, or bike ride with others is also not considered as risky. Hiking is also a relatively low-risk activity. Go early in the day to avoid the heat, pack plenty of water and snacks, and bring a mask just in case you can’t maintain a proper distance. And if you go golfing, be sure to bring your mask and any equipment you may need so you don’t have to borrow anything from anyone else.
Moderate Risk Activities
Things like having dinner at a friend’s house, attending a backyard barbeque, sending kids to school or camp, and swimming in a public pool are considered moderate risk activities. For these types of activities, it becomes increasingly important to follow strict safety protocols, such as strict hand hygiene, maintaining a physical distance, and wearing a mask. If going for a swim, go during an off-time when fewer people are around, avoid communal surfaces like picnic tables and lounges, and wear a mask when not in the water.
Moderate-High Risk Activities
Playing group sports like basketball, football, and soccer is riskier than activities in the low-moderate or moderate categories because it involves getting close to people who are breathing more heavily than usual, pushing more saliva droplets into the air. Eating at a restaurant (inside), going to a hair salon, and traveling by plane are also considered moderate-high risk. Again, if you have to engage in any of these activities, make sure you are following strict safety protocols.
High Risk Activities
While movie theaters are only seating 25% of their capacity, going to see a show can still be risky business. Sitting in a theater with strangers for two hours can allow the virus to spread throughout the air. Instead, try renting a new movie at home and popping a batch of popcorn to enjoy from the comfort of your couch. Attending a large music concert or sporting event, going to mass with 500+ worshippers, and working out at a gym are also high-risk activities and should be avoided at all costs. Consider doing virtual workouts and attending a virtual service to avoid large crowds.