Safety first: What you should keep in mind as businesses reopen

A woman and a man sit on oppostie ends of a park bench reading while wearing masks. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind as businesses start to reopen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Ready to get out? Businesses and services will reopen over the coming weeks and months. But our fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re leaving home.

Keep it up.

Keep following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and  government officials in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Wear masks, keep a social distance, and limit the size of gatherings. And wash your hands – often. “Now is not the time to let your guard down,” says Dr. Waldemar Rosario, ConnectiCare vice president and senior medical director. “It’s important to keep up the progress made over the past few months. Continue these basic healthy practices that help keep you and everyone around you safe.”

Back in business.

Some Connecticut offices, retail stores, and other businesses started to let people back inside on May 20, following specific rules and certifications. Restaurants may serve in outdoor seating areas and offer takeout, pickup, and delivery.

Museums and zoos can start to admit 50% capacity for outdoor exhibits. Hair salons and barbershops will also follow strict guidelines and capacity limits.

Check with your favorite local spots to see when they plan to reopen. You may need to make appointments or sign up for time slots to visit.

Get back to the doctor.

You may have missed appointments for annual exams, cancer screenings, and more while staying in. Children may be overdue for vaccines. Call your doctors’ offices to reschedule and get advice on how to get back on track with preventive care. “Preventive care is one of the most important ways to maintain your health. It can help you avoid more serious health concerns later on,” says Rosario. “Work with your doctor to find a safe way to get the care you need.”

Be cautious.

Adults age 65 or older and people with severe underlying conditions face a higher risk for COVID-19. Even with safety rules, you should continue to stay home for now if your age or health makes you vulnerable. “We may see a rise in COVID-19 cases as the state reopens and people gather again. Those with compromised immune systems should still self-isolate as best they can to avoid exposure,” says Rosario. Monitor your health and call your doctor if you have any symptoms.

Find new ways to ring in summer.

Traditional summer gatherings may still be off-limits, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy time with friends and family. Roll your grill out to the front yard for a sidewalk BBQ. Invite your neighbors to do the same.

You can even try a variation on a potluck. Ask people to bring portioned containers of prepared sides. Put closed containers on a table and let families go up one at a time to pick from the options. Set tables and chairs at least 6 feet apart to share a meal at a safe distance. ConnectiCare members can visit our COVID-19 information center for the latest on coverage and benefits, frequently asked questions, health tips, and more.