Although COVID-19 vaccines have begun rolling out in the U.S., health officials have emphasized that it’s important to stay vigilant about preventing disease transmission—it could be many months before you and people you love are able to obtain the vaccine.
That includes being careful about where you go and what you do in public. These are five places to enter with caution, according to the nation’s health protection agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read on to see what the CDC says—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
1 – Use Caution Before Attending Family Gatherings
First, the CDC advises staying home if you have signs of COVID-19, if you’re awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. If that’s not the case, the agency advises that you wear a mask, maintain a distance of at least six feet from people who don’t live in your household, and “select seating or determine where to stand based on the ability to keep six feet of space from people who don’t live in your household.”
2 – Use Caution in Gyms
Here, the CDC recommends using online check-in or reservation systems, if they’re available, and limit your attendance at indoor fitness classes. “If you do attend such a session, maintain as much distance as possible between yourself and other individuals, and use masks if they do not interfere with your activity,” the agency says. The CDC also recommends keeping six feet of distance in public workout areas, locker rooms and saunas, and to wipe down machines and equipment with wipes or sanitizers of at least 60% alcohol before using them.
3 – Limit In-Person Trips to Grocery Stores
Try to utilize at-home delivery or curbside pickup if you can. “If possible, limit visiting the grocery store, or other stores selling household essentials, in person,” the CDC says. “In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.” If you must go, wear a mask, visit during off-peak hours, stay six feet away from others, and disinfect the shopping cart with disinfectant wipes if possible.
4 – Do the Following in Restaurants
The CDC advises that before visiting a restaurant, you check its COVID-19 prevention practices before you go: Call and ask if the staff will be wearing masks at all times, and if self-parking is an option to avoid valet service. Once at the restaurant, maintain a six-foot distance from people who aren’t in your household and wear a mask whenever you’re not eating.
5 – Before Going to Doctors’ Offices, Do This
Use telemedicine or communicate with your doctor by email or telephone, the CDC advises, and ask about rescheduling any procedures that aren’t urgent. If you think you might have COVID, inform your doctor and ask for instructions about visiting the office. When you’re there, wear a mask and maintain a six-foot distance from others.
6 – How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest.