As everyone knows by now, the COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for over a year. Due to this fact, it would be reasonable to assume that everyone knows how to act during a global pandemic as well as what best practices are to keep both yourself and the people around you safe. However, it turns out that some people still seem to either not understand or not care. If you don’t care about the health and safety of yourself or your loved ones, then there’s really no hope for you. But if you still genuinely do not understand what to do during a pandemic, then this one’s for you.
Here are some pandemic etiquette dos and don’ts.
Do: Wear a face mask when around others, both indoors and outdoors. Layering two face masks is even more effective.
Don’t: Not wear a face mask when around others.
Do: Make sure that your mask fully covers both your mouth and nose.
Don’t: Walk around with your nose out.
Do: Avoid gathering in large groups, especially indoors.
Don’t: Gather in large groups. Or go to parties. Or crowd into bars and restaurants. Pro tip— even though state governments are slowly lifting restrictions and allowing places like bars and restaurants to open, that doesn’t mean it is now safe to go. A lot of the new mandates are meant to lift some of the economic strain placed on businesses rather than protecting people’s health. You could be transmitting the virus to vulnerable restaurant workers as well.
Do: Stay home whenever possible.
Don’t: Go out and gather with people when it is unnecessary to do so. Going to work, going to school, going to the doctor’s office or going to get vaccinated are all necessary activities. You can also go outside and take a walk or do physical activity if it’s nice out. You can still patronize local businesses by shopping online or ordering takeout.
Do: Refrain from any and all unnecessary travel.
Don’t: Take unneeded vacations and potentially spread the virus in other parts of the country or world. Airplanes, which are small, enclosed spaces with many people inside, can be especially dangerous.
Do: Try and get vaccinated as soon as you are able.
Don’t: Think that you are immune from COVID-19 after you get vaccinated. People who are fully vaccinated can still potentially contract and spread the virus; the vaccine cuts down on deaths and hospitalizations. Also, if you only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you are not fully vaccinated until a few weeks after you receive the second dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single dose, but there is also a waiting period after you receive it until you are considered vaccinated. Until the vast majority of people are fully vaccinated and herd immunity is achieved, COVID-19 outbreaks and spread will still be very prevalent, and people will still get very sick.
Do: Remain connected with friends through virtual communication or socially distanced, preferably outdoor, get-togethers.
Don’t: Gather in-person with all 30 of your friends at a party or in a bar without masks on.
Do: Remember to wash your hands often and disinfect shared surfaces. While COVID-19 transmission via surfaces is less common, it is still possible.
Don’t: Not wash your hands or wipe down surfaces.
Do: Consider that your actions may affect others beyond your immediate circle of influence.
Don’t: Have a self-centered point of view. The actions you take during a pandemic have the potential to affect not only the people around you but everyone around them as well.
Do: Have an open dialogue with others about how you are coping during the pandemic and what you can do better to keep yourself and others safe.
Don’t: Respond to inquiries with hostility. If you post about your potentially unsafe pandemic behavior on social media, expect to receive comments and call-outs.
We are all equally responsible for keeping each other safe as we see this pandemic through to the end. Stay safe out there.