Editor’s note: Updated 5/6/20: The Stay Safe Ohio order is now in place for our state and a mandate from Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton, M.D. MPH. This modifies the previous Stay at Home order, and reopens businesses with exceptions and requirements. For more information on what this order means for you, please go to the Ohio Department of Health’s Website.
Government officials have requested that Americans stay home as much as possible to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus causing COVID-19. But there may be times when you need to leave the house.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before your head out to keep you, your loved ones and community members safe from COVID-19.
Only go out if necessary
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns, “The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus.” To limit exposure, only go out if absolutely necessary and limit your total number of trips. Consider combining trips if you have to go multiple places. Think about having a designated runner to limit how many people in the house are exposed to outside pathogens.
Be aware of possible closings
Many businesses are now closed, have limited hours or have changed operations as a precaution. It’s best to double check to see if where you’re headed is still open and what restrictions might be in place. Visit the CDC or your state’s Department of Health website for executive orders, as well as businesses’ websites for their precautionary guidelines and practices.
Practice public etiquette & wear a mask
If you are sick, or have been exposed to someone who is sick, stay home unless directed by your doctor to leave your house for care.
If you must cough or sneeze, do so in your sleeve or into a tissue you throw away. Be sure to wash your hands often and disinfect surfaces you touch with disinfecting wipes. Some businesses provide these when you enter and exit their building.
A person can transmit COVID-19 even if they have no symptoms and are unaware they have the disease. Because of this, Ohioians are strongly encouraged (but not required) to wear face coverings in retail locations and other workplaces. Find additional information here and here.
Embrace social distancing
COVID-19 can be transmitted through respiratory droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. To lessen the chances of exposure, the CDC recommends that you maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more from people around you.
Social distancing becomes tough in public areas, so the CDC recommends you avoid these places. Ohio’s Stay Safe Ohio Order prohibits public and private gatherings outside a single household, and gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited.
What should you take with you?
- Hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol or more. Hand sanitizer is a complement, not a substitute for washing your hands. You should wash your hands when you are able to.
- Cleaning wipes to disinfect any areas you are about to touch or have already touched.
- Tissues for coughs and sneezes. Tissues can also act as a barrier to surfaces you need to touch.
- A Clean and well-fitting face mask.
Watch your hands
While you are out, always avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes, especially if you are in a public area. And avoid contact with high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, elevator buttons and handrails. Put your sleeve over your hand or consider using a tissue if you must touch them.