03 Jun Is it Safe to Go Out?
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Charmaine and the staff at Senior Living Consultants
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As of today those states, which issued stay-at-home orders due to the coronavirus, have begun to partially lift some quarantine restrictions. Depending on where you live, you may be able to dine inside a restaurant, enjoy an espresso at your favorite coffee shop, browse a retail store, attend religious services, and get a haircut. Some states, such as Alabama, even let you gather in large groups–as long as you maintain social distance.
However, just because you can go out now, is it a safe? For older adults, with underlying health conditions, like heart or lung disease, or diabetes it may still best to stay at home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been in adults 65 years old and older. In addition, adults 65-84 account for the majority of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since this group is at a higher risk of developing more serious complications.
If you are over 65 with no underlying health conditions, you are still at a higher risk from getting serioiusly sick from COVID-19 simply due to your age–which itself is a risk factor. The immune system of older adults naturally decreases with age and seniors should be careful to limit their exposure to the coronavirus. That means avoiding other people, other than those who already live in your home. High risk seniors may be wise to not go out, except for essential activities, like a grocery run or doctor appointment. And when you do leave the home, continue to always wear your mask, wash your hands throughout the day, and use hand sanitizer.
Safety Measures in Place
If and when you do decide to venture out to non-essential activities, you will find safety measures in place which have been mandated by your local government. For example, here in San Luis Obispo County we are currently well into Stage 2 of reopening. This includes the reopening of dine-in restaurants (wineries and bars remain shut unless they also serve food), non-essential businesses (such as retail shops), churches, and hair salons (nails, facials, massages, and gyms are not available yet). The state of California has issued strict guidelines to these places in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to both employees and customers and to keep everyone as safe as possible.
According to California state guidelines restaurants should adhere to the following:
- Prioritize outdoor seating and curbside pickup to minimize the number of people eating inside;
- Encourage reservations to allow employees to have time to disinfect tables and minimize contact between guests;
- Implement physical distancing of at least six feet between workers and customers. This means placing floor markings or signs to indicate a safe distance and removing tables and chairs so there will be plenty of space between patrons;
- Bar areas are to remain closed;
- Servers and employees who are within six feet of customers must wear masks. Guests are also encouraged to wear masks when not eating or drinking;
- No salt and pepper shakers are on the table, but they are available upon asking. Restaurant guests are must also place their own leftovers in a to-go container to minimize contact. Only paper menus are available.
Retail stores must also follow strict guidelines set forth by the state in order to ensure a safe environment. This includes:
- Perform thorough cleaning in high traffic areas;
- Frequently disinfect commonly used surfaces;
- Clean and sanitize shared equipment between each use;
- Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users, whichever is more frequent;
- Equip customer entrances and exits, checkout stations, and customer changing rooms with proper sanitation products, including hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, and provide personal hand sanitizers to all frontline staff (e.g., cashiers);
- Ensure that sanitary facilities stay operational and stocked at all times;
- Make hand sanitizer and other sanitary supplies readily available to employees;
- Use products approved for use against COVID-19 on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved list and follow product instructions and Cal/OSHA requirements;
- Adjust or modify store hours to provide adequate time cleaning and stocking with physical distancing;
- Provide time for workers to implement cleaning practices before and after shifts, hire third-party cleaning companies;
- Install hands-free devices if possible;
- Encourage the use of debit or credit cards by customers;
- Encourage customers with reusable bags to clean them frequently and require them to bag their own purchases.
For more detailed information on guidelines businesses must follow in San Luis Obispo County, click on the link below.