While you've been staying home for the past few weeks because of the coronavirus, you have probably dreamed of what you'll do the day it ends. Throwing a big party with all your pals or visiting your grandparents could be tempting. However, experts say you still need to be cautious and responsible with your social life.
It's still important to know that the presence of coronavirus might remain after shelter-in-place measures are lifted. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said things might not be entirely back to normal until there's a vaccine.
Can I visit friends and family?
When shelter-in-place orders are lifted, the first thing many people would do is to see family and friends they've been missing. Due to concerns and restrictions about going into crowded public spaces, those reunions will probably take place in private residences. Plus, people need to make decisions about who they interact with--gathering immunocompromised friends and relatives might not be okay.
When you do see friends and family, you will still need to wash your hands frequently and protect your mouth if you sneeze or cough. It can be a good idea to avoid hugging or getting too close. Another alternative for what the end of shelter-in-place should seem like is that schools and businesses start to reopen. Still, people are encouraged to continue social distancing and restrict social visits.
Can I go outdoors?
A recent study done in China suggests that the coronavirus is more likely to be spread indoors as opposed to outside. The study is still under peer review. However, one can take a few lessons from their findings.
If public parks and other outdoor areas near you are open after the shelter-in-place, you can consider having your own family reunions outside. But social distancing must still be in place. No matter where you begin social contact again, remember to follow local officials' and the CDC's guidelines.
Can I host an end-of-quarantine party?
Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, reminded the public in an April 15 briefing that COVID-19 is a "highly contagious" virus. Brix said that an asymptomatic person can spread the virus unknowingly. "But for all of you that are out there that would like to join together and just have that dinner party for 20 -- don't do it yet," she said.
Social-distancing measures exist to slow the spread of the virus, and the remaining component people need to do is reignite community transmission. The CDC does not have any guidance on how to socialize when shelter-in-place ends. However, experts still highly discourage gathering many people in one location.
Should I see my grandparents?
When the quarantine measures end, people still need to be cautious about spending time with the aged or immunocompromised people in our lives. While visiting your grandparents is a personal choice, remember that those are the people that are most at risk of developing severe and potentially fatal complications due to the coronavirus.
Until those antibody tests and assessments are ready, retaining our distance from immunocompromised people is the best choice.
Can I go to all my favorite restaurants again?
While restaurants may resume their dining in options, the experience will now probably be different. California Governor Gavin Newsom says that there might be half of the usual number of tables as before. The servers might wear face masks, and people may be seeing disposable paper menus instead
In Beijing, which started to ease social distancing regulations, diners are reportedly "spooked" at the concept of eating out in public. While you could technically be allowed to dine out, don't expect all of your preferred restaurants to be open at full capacity when shelter-in-place measures end.
What about sports, concerts and movies?
Any entertainment activity where groups of people are packed together will not be possible.
With sports, for example, the US can learn from Taiwan where are there are no fans in the training center where the games are hosted for a basketball league. Sporting activities in the US can start at the end of 2020. Still, Americans are encouraged to avoid crowds until a vaccine is widely available.
The same thing goes for concert events. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said people might not see live shows and other events in the Southern California city before 2021. As for movies, President Trump said that cinemas might be among the first to reopen under his plan.
However, Hollywood executives have other ideas. Warner Bros and Disney have already pushed back summer blockbusters. Movie theaters will also probably institute social distancing measures.