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Stay Safe When Meeting Family and Friends during COVID-19

 The Covid-19 pandemic has been dragging on for months, and it seems like it's here to stay for much longer. This is why most people have realized that life must continue, and we must get accustomed to the new rules of life. For many, this means starting to meet family and friends little by little, but how should a family visit or meetup with friends look like these days?
Indeed, it's important to abide by social distancing measures and rethink the way you meet your loved ones in these difficult times, especially if some of the people involved are of a noble age or have preexisting health conditions. Here are 6 tips that will help you meet others responsibly during the coronavirus pandemic.

1. Keep those masks on and don't stay long

COVID-19 Meeting Tips parents putting on masks on kids
Approach a meetup with friends or family members as you would any outdoor activity these days. So, the same way you wouldn't go grocery shopping unprotected, you don't want to suddenly get rid of masks during a meeting with friends or family, even though you know these people very well. Remember, asymptomatic Covid-19 is a thing, and some people may not be aware that they have the virus.
Apart from mask-wearing, experts suggest you should not be staying overnight, especially if we're talking about a family visit to the grandparents or an immunocompromised individual. If you do intend to stay for a longer time, make sure you've planned ahead and preferably didn't have any contact with other individuals for 2 weeks and traveled by car instead of taking public transportation. In case this isn't a possibility, it's better to postpone the visit to the grandparents for now.

2. Explain the new rules to the little ones

COVID-19 Meeting Tips mother putting a mask on her daughter
If kids are involved in the meeting in question, parents must explain to them that hugging or taking off their face masks during the meeting is off the table. It is understandable that making kids abide by these rules may be difficult, which is exactly why it's important to prepare them ahead of time. Also, it's advisable for a parent to always keep an eye on the child during the meeting itself and ensure they are keeping the recommended 6 ft (2 m) distance from others.

3. Stay outdoors

COVID-19 Meeting Tips family meal
Staying indoors may sound like the smartest thing to do, but experts say that it's actually much better to meet outside to prevent any potential virus particles from collecting in an enclosed space. "Unless the visit is outside and either at a safe physical distance or with everyone wearing masks, people should limit exposure to family and friends," said Patrice Harris, the president of the American Medical Association to the CNN. So, meeting in the garden or yard instead of the living room and maintaining social distance is your best bet.

4. Avoid public spaces

COVID-19 Meeting Tips restaurants
Avoid indoor public spaces, especially crammed and small spaces like restrooms or gas stations before the visit, and try to minimize the contact you have with others as much as possible for at least a few days before the meeting. If you have to fill up the gas tank on your way to the visit, put on gloves and dispose of them immediately after using the gas tank and use hand sanitizer to clean your hands.
If you're traveling long distances to meet family or friends, make sure to sanitize everything when you get to the hotel and stay in the room as much as possible, minimizing contact with other visitors as much as you can. During the meeting, avoid going to crowded public spaces such as theme parks, museums, cinemas and the like, and stay in a remote area instead. If you're planning a dinner, it's best to bring your own food instead of going to a restaurant.

5. Resist the temptation to get too close

COVID-19 Meeting Tips grandparents and grandchildren
This is probably the hardest part of a long-awaited meeting. Unfortunately, medical experts advise avoiding hugs and any contact with family and friends. "Limit hugs and close contact, unless you have done a full quarantine," stated Dr. William Miller, an epidemiologist from Ohio State University College of Public Health in a statement to NPR. A full quarantine means staying at home for 14 days and only exiting the home for essential medical supplies.

6. Preferably get tested

COVID-19 Meeting Tips covid-19 test
Although getting tested before a meeting is a good idea for everyone, it is especially important if you live in an area with known cases of Covid-19 or exhibit any symptoms of the disease. In these cases, you should get tested before meeting anyone, especially elderly relatives or immunocompromised individuals. This is extremely important, as nearly 80% of the total Covid-19 related deaths have been in the elderly population, so don't take this lightly and get something that's called "clearance testing" before visiting seniors.
Doctors recommend taking the PCR test, which is the most accurate diagnostic coronavirus test. If you test positive, you'll need to cancel the meeting and take another test in 2 weeks. But even if your test comes back negative, you'll still have to abide by all the social distancing rules and everything we've mentioned above, since there is always a chance that the test came back as a false negative, which can happen for a variety of reasons.
We hope this information was helpful to you. Stay safe and share this article with those who might find it useful!
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