Being safe in the midst of COVID-19 was inherently easy, in some ways, when the weather was still cold. My husband and I spent the first three months of quarantine in a mountain town in Colorado, where it snowed every day for half of the time, and rained the rest. I think we had three days of sun. But, it was pretty easy to maintain distance from others and stay at home in that weather. That’s what we mostly would have been doing, at that time of year, in that climate, anyways – pandemic or no pandemic. But now, we are back in California, the sun is shining, and things are different. This is when humans would typically come out of hibernation and be ready to see friends. This is when we want to be having boozy patio brunches in our rompers and floppy hats. This is when we want to go to the beach and pool parties. Our social instincts are awakening, but, sadly, COVID-19 is also still very much awake, and very much active. This isn’t the time to ease up on the precautions. In fact, cases are only increasing, so it’s the time to go hard on the precautions. But that sunny weather may be enticing you to do otherwise. Here are COVID-19 mistakes to avoid when the summer heat increases.
Jogging without a mask on
Going for power walks, jogs, and bike rides are some of the only ways any of us are getting out right now. And we need exercise for our mental health. However, wearing a mask when you’re exercising – which already makes you sweat – in the sun can become uncomfortable. You may find yourself wanting to rip off that mask five minutes into your run. But don’t do it.
Hiking without a mask on
Summer time is the time to hike. But you’re not the only one who had that idea. The hiking trails may now be swarming with people, and with many paths so narrow, it can be hard to keep your physical distance from other hikers. Again, it’s warm, so scaling a mountain in a mask can be uncomfortable. But leave it on.
Sitting near others at the beach
Everyone is hitting the beach now. People want to put on their cute bathing suits. They want to walk in the sand and take a dip in the water. Beaches will start to be very crowded. If you go to a beach and see that it’s crowded, find a more secluded area. It can just be too hard to keep your social distance when there are umbrellas and chairs everywhere.
Wading in the pool near others
You may have access to a pool. Maybe you apartment building has a pool, or your friend invites you over to her pool, but she invites others, too. For some reason, a lot of us forget about the social distancing rules once we’re in the pool. And while chlorine may kill bacteria, when you’re standing, halfway in the water, and chatting with others, you are spraying droplets in the air and so are they.
Side-by-side balcony hangs
If you have a balcony at your apartment, your neighbor may have one, too. Those two balconies may be quite close together. My balcony and my neighbor’s nearly touch. So when I’m hanging out on my balcony and he is, too, it’s hard to keep six feet of distance. If you’re in the same position, just be conscious about wearing a mask when you’re both out there, or don’t go out there when your neighbor is out there.
Extra store runs for fun foods
This is the time when those summer cravings hit. You want smoothies. You want to make fresh salsa. You want to make margaritas and tacos. You start to get creative, and every day, you crave that one special thing. But don’t start going to the grocery store each time you want to make popsicles or guacamole. You should still plan your grocery runs, and go to the store as little as possible.
Dog park closeness
Dog parks will start to get busy. Everybody wants to take Fido out to play with his friends now. Like in pools, people can forget about social distancing at dog parks. We’re all just chasing our pups around, petting other people’s dogs, and not really watching where we’re going. But you still need to keep your distance here.
Taking unnecessary trips
The travel bug might bite you, because this may have been around the time you would have taken that cruise or gone to that all-inclusive beach resort. But you had to cancel that, due to this pandemic. You may start thinking about taking some trips, anyways…resort prices are cheap now…Don’t do it. All of our hard work to fight this virus may be for nothing if we all travel lots now.
Going in a friend’s house for the AC
Check the weather before heading to a friend’s house for a backyard or patio hangout. If it’s going to be very hot, then you’ll find yourself in a tough position: you’ll want to go inside, and enjoy the air conditioning. Either hang out later in the day, when it’s cooled down, or wait for another day when temperatures are lower.
Pack your water and pack tons of it. You don’t want to find yourself at the beach or on a hike, dehydrated, nearly fainting from the thirst, and without a water. Then your friend is in the tough position of watching you suffer or offering you some of her water. But that’s not fair or safe for anybody right now.
Grilling too close
If you have friends over for a barbecue, you can enjoy some good food in a safe open-air environment. But it ceases to be safe if your friends want to keep you company at the grill, or help you cook, so they come stand right next to you to season those kabobs for you or chat with you about sports. Ask guests to give you space at the grill.
Going mask-less at outdoor bars
A lot of people are flocking to outdoor bars now. Though these are open-air environments, they are also environments full of drunk people aka people who aren’t being careful. Some patrons will get too close to you. Wear your mask. You’ll be glad you did when a tipsy stranger throws his arm around you and talks too close to you.
Not packing hand sanitizer
You’ll probably be spending a lot of time outdoors now, because it’s nice out, but that means you’ll be away from your bathroom. You won’t have an opportunity to wash your hands often, unless you use a business’ bathroom, but you don’t necessarily want to do that. So don’t forget to pack your hand sanitizer.
Not peeing at home
Again, you’ll be out and away from the convenience of your own bathroom. To the best of your ability, handle your business at home, before heading out, so you don’t have to venture into public restrooms. If you must use public restrooms, try not to touch anything, wear your mask, and sanitize your hands after you’re done.
Gathering in larger groups
This just isn’t the time to get lax. I know that summer is traditionally the time we become more social. You’re craving those parties. You may start to think, “Well, I can have 15 people in my back yard. They can just keep their distance!” But you immediately create a risky situation by doing that. Keep hanging out in small groups.