The Precautions To Take When Going Back Into Society

While many will be rejoicing by the news of COVID-19 restrictions lifting nationwide, it does not mean that life will return back to normal immediately. It’s important for all of us to manage our expectations and take necessary precautions as we rehabilitate ourselves back into a ‘new’ society. Since there are no vaccines or drugs to counter COVID-19 as of now, the question on everyone’s mind is: what measures should people take in order to safely return to their normal routines? Until the government releases detailed guidelines, here are a few precautions you can take for when the lockdown is lifted:

Office

Staying at home during the lockdown, you may have relaxed your hygiene practices a little but they’ll have to be back in full rigour once you start going to work.  Necessary precautions have to be taken when returning back to work because “you have the highest chance of acquiring the infection from what is called intramural transmission. A closed office environment with lots of people increases the chances of transmission.”

  1. Prepare your sanitising kits before you step out. These should include: extra masks, gloves, sanitisers, hand soaps, toilet seat sanitiser , tissue papers etc.
  2. It’s crucial to stay mindful about what you touch at your place of work. Keep sanitising and washing your hands every now and then.
  3. As tempted as you may be to greet your colleagues, refrain from hugging or shaking hands with anyone (no one will think you’re being rude). Come up with your preferred greeting – elbow bump, namaste, foot tap, good old wave. Whatever suits you!
  4. Keep disinfecting high touch points such as doorknobs and lift buttons. Wipe down your desk, mouse, keyboard and screen daily with a paper towel and alcohol rub before you start work.
  5. Abstain from busy common areas, elevator spaces and cafeterias. Avoid using shared cutlery (mugs, plates, coffee machines) as much as you can.
  6. Ensure that your office has the recommended distance of 6 feet between each workstation.
  7. Another helpful tip is to take a break from your screen every 20 minutes (for 20 seconds) so you don’t feel the need to rub your eyes.

Gyms

Gyms have finally been given the green light to operate once again. Gyms that reopen must follow strict hygiene and social distancing measures, such as limiting the number of people using the facility, as well as spacing out equipment.

  1. Returning members are advised to spray equipment with sanitizer before, during and after use.
  2. Take your own towels and water bottles.
  3. Be mindful of your distance with other people at the gym, workout class or any other studio.
  4. Avoid using changing rooms and showers at the facility. Arrive at the facility in your sports kits to avoid changing clothes at the gym as that can increase exposure.
  5. Wear masks when possible, especially when entering and exiting the gym studio.
  6. Try to opt for outdoor workouts with resistance bands, instead of machinery or dumbbells.
  7. If you have to use pools, make sure one-way entry and exit systems are implemented.

Salons

Your next visit to a beauty salon will surprise you like never before! You will have to ensure they are following necessary SOP’s such as thermal checks, no walk ins, disinfectant sprays and disposable gowns/caps when servicing customers. Other measures you can take on to ensure your safety include:

  1. Maintaining social distancing norms. Try not to engage in unnecessary conversations.
  2. Bring your own personal items such as towels, robes, brushes and manicure/pedicure kits.
  3. Avoid getting services which require full face exposure, for e.g. facials.
  4. Refrain from getting blow dry’s (increases rate of transmission of germs), sitting in waiting areas, touching magazines etc.
  5. To limit interaction, make sure only one person services you throughout your visit.

Restaurants

It seems like forever since we last went out to grab a bite to eat, but luckily, it seems possible again. Your dine in experience will be tweaked to ensure safety for all customers. Restaurants are instructed to follow guidelines such as reducing seating capacity and spacing out tables to at least 6 feet apart. Another precaution is to keep the music volume down, to avoid people feeling the need to shout as that can increase the risk of transmission.

  1. Take your own disposable utensils.
  2. Make sure to reserve your table over the phone so you can avoid waiting in a queue.
  3. Be cautious about sharing items such as menus, condiments or any other food containers. Ask for digital menus, single serving condiments (ketchup sachets) and do not touch trash cans.
  4. Refrain from allowing your kids to go to the play areas in restaurants and eateries.
  5. Opt for outdoor sitting areas where safe distancing measures have been put in place.
  6. Avoid bathrooms.

Malls

When was the last time you did some window shopping at your favourite mall? Seems like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it? To make your next trip to the mall a safe one, ensure that you’re following the necessary guidelines.

  1. Generally avoid being in a group or standing in an area with more than four people.
  2. Changing rooms have been closed for some time to ensure safety. Make sure that when you purchase clothes, the first thing you do is wash them properly at home before trying them on.
  3. Keep sanitising your hands, and avoid touching lift buttons and escalator/ elevator handles.
  4. Do not use testers at makeup stations as they can contain many germs.
  5. Contactless payments are the way to go in order to curtail the contamination risk.
  6. Disinfect card machines, shopping carts, shopping bags and handles before and after usage.

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