What is social distancing? Answers to your lingering questions!

March, 18 2020
Woman walking alone practicing social distancing
AAF Flanders
Written By
AAF Flanders

You've probably already started practicing social distancing. But, if you're like us - you want to know best-practices during this anxious time. 

Earlier this week, the White House announced guidelines for the next 14-days (or more) that recommended avoiding groups or gatherings of 10 or more people. In addition to a restricted social gathering, they recommended: shopping trips, social visits, going out to bars or restaurants, and discretionary travel. 

The federal government also urged older people and those with serious health concerns/conditions - specifically, lung, heart, or weakened immune system - to stay home and away from others. Some data has shown that these groups are most vulnerable to developing the severe form of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

Knowing this, we encourage you to follow these guidelines and suggestions. But, anyone have any questions? What exactly is and is not OK in practicing social distancing? We thought of a few- and did some research. 

 

Can I go to a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar?

Technically, yes, if they are offering pickup options. In the guidelines, it restricts the dining in option. The CDC recommends people should use drive-throughs, delivery options, and pickup. 

People are touching my containers and food. 

We did some research on this, don't snack in the car on the ride home. When you get home don't throw the containers on the coffee table. Take it into the kitchen, remove the food from the containers throw them away appropriately. Wash your hands thoroughly, and indulge—sound advice coming from Drew Harris, a population health researcher at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. 

The food itself is not a significant risk, because the new coronavirus seems to produce in the respiratory system, not the digestive tract. If you were worried that you didn't make it to the grocery store in time, or fear you'll have to live off ramen noodles for a while. Order from your favorite places online, and support local business first, if you can. 

 

Visiting Grandparents or Elderly

The federal government has asked that visitors stay away from retirement, long-term care, and nursing homes unless they are there to provide critical assistance. 

Because of the complexities of the spread, we know there is a large group of infected people that have mild cases; with unnoticed symptoms, they continue to spread the virus. That includes children as well. 

2020 Alternatives

It is tough not to be able to see your loved ones, especially our elderly. However, it is 2020, and we have creative alternatives. Virtual visiting; GoogleDuo or Facetime calls. Stay in-touch the old fashion way with just a phone call; even a text message is comforting from time to time. You can also make and create fun packages to send; have the kids throw in homemade cards!

I'm a healthy adult, is it OK?

No, do not visit them unless it is vital. By vital, we mean:

Medication

Food/Grocery

Supplies/Household

If you're concerned about a family member that you are responsible for, we suggest having an open discussion if you're able to set a plan if they were to become ill. 

 

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Kids' Playdates?

As most of us are aware, schools are closed and could stay closed longer than initially scheduled. Parents are now trying to get creative on childcare. And or working from home while tending to children. A good playdate seems like an excellent solution to burn off anxious energy. Although the CDC never directly made a statement, it would go against the guidance and defeat social distancing. 

Playing outside

If you do let your kids outside during this time, or weather allows you, we suggest 6-feet of distance. We would not recommend playgrounds or parks with a lot of surfaces or children having contact play. 

Coping at home

Most parents are going to be home with their children during this social distancing. We suggest that you take advantage of it while you can, the sky is the limit with creative projects, games, family time, and more. Maybe they will even bring the kid out in you.

 

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Adults

The CDC recommends avoiding social visits, for now. Some could argue the answer depends on where you live. If you live in a very populated area, avoid visitors altogether. 

But if you were to live in an area where there is less community, you can probably use your best judgment and stick to virtual visits or a minimal group of people. 

Habits

If you find yourself working at home and going stir-crazy, we suggest making a list of all of the items you want to accomplish. Personal, professional, home improvement, budgeting etc. 

Personal: There are a lot of apps that have made free during this time. With limited access to gyms and wellness facilities, it can be challenging to figure out a temporary solution. 

Budgeting: If you haven't filed your taxes, it would be a great time to cross that off the list. Also, talk to your financial advisers if you have time so they can update you. You can start listing a budget if you are concerned about your income during this time. 

Home Improvement: You know all that trim that needs touching up? And those screws that need replacing? No time like the present!

 

Social Distancing in Grocery Stores

So should be limiting your grocery store visits if you're a grab and goer. If you stocked up, you wouldn't need to hit a store any time soon. So you all can sit tight while the rest brave it out there. 

We suggest just being very present while you're shopping. Grab your cart, wipe it down with the hand sanitizer station, first.

Next, say to yourself, you won't touch your face. Get your phone or list handy and proceed. Social distancing doesn't mean we don't see the light of day, and we're locked away like a princess in a tower. It means be careful, be aware of your surroundings, and be polite. 

Once you get your items home, we suggest unpacking your items and washing your hands.

For more information regarding social distancing and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) visit the CDC.

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