As communities and cities around the world work to slow the spread of COVID-19, you have certainly been cautioned to practice “social distancing” to help in this important work. However, you may receive conflicting information about what social distancing entails.
In fact, socializing can be especially important during periods of prolonged isolation. What is more important for preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus is physical distancing—monitoring our proximity to others and changing our habits to reduce spread of the virus.
We’ve prepared a list of best-practices, to better help our patrons and readers understand what social-distancing entails.
(For comprehensive and detailed information about the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, please visit the CDC’s available resources.)
* Maintain a 6-foot distance from other persons. This applies to all age groups but is especially important for those more severely at risk from COVID-19. Maintaining this distance is one of the most effective ways to keep the virus from spreading. Close-proximity coughing and sneezing releases respiratory droplets that can easily pass the infection to others, if inhaled.
Need an easy gauge for 6 feet? Imagine a bicycle. Or a llama!
* Wash your hands frequently, especially after being in public spaces. Use soap and water and wash for at least 20-30 seconds. This remains one of the most effective ways to keep yourself safe, since soap—as well as sanitizers with 60% or higher alcohol content—breaks down the coronavirus.
Wondering if you’re washing long enough? Try the chorus to Toto’s “Africa” or “Love on Top,” by Beyonce!
* Sanitize frequently touched surfaces. This includes doorknobs, countertops, keyboards, light switches, and other areas of your home, workplace, or personal space that people frequently touch. Sanitizing solutions that are 60% alcohol-based are necessary.
Want to avoid wasting increasingly scarce sanitizing wipes? Make a list of the places that need to be sanitized in your own home and develop a schedule for them!
* Avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Because the coronavirus spreads most easily from person-to-person, it is important to avoid large gatherings of people in close proximity.
For those feeling cooped up indoors, we suggest taking a walk outside! Maintaining a 6-foot distance from others is still important, but it can be easier to do on uncrowded sidewalks and streets.
* Avoid discretionary travel. We all know how tempting the cheap airfare and distance-travel options are right now… but every one of them will put you in close proximity to others. Unless you absolutely must travel, we recommend staying put.
Those yearning for adventure outside their home should check out free digital tour resources.
* Do not visit elderly relatives, but keep in touch. Because persons over 60 and those with underlying conditions are more vulnerable to COVID-19, it is important to do everything possible to keep the novel coronavirus away from living environments. This means canceling or limiting visits to vulnerable persons, for sake of their health and safety
Instead of visiting elderly relatives, keep in touch via phone or text message. If available, try video options such as Skype (available on PC, Mac, Android, or iOS) or Facetime (available on Mac and iOS.)
* Cancel restaurant dine-in plans indefinitely. While restaurants in many states are being mandated to close to dine-in patrons, some are not. In most restaurants, dine-in patrons are not able to maintain the suggested 6-foot distance between one another.
However, many restaurants are shifting their services to focus on take-out and curbside pick-up. Contact restaurants in question before making any plans, but don’t be afraid to ask about more portable options! Many businesses in our community will welcome this altered (but still very important) patronage.
The Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce has created a list of restaurants and other resources with update or changed hours and services.
* Reschedule non-essential appointments. Everyone should take care of their personal and household health, but non-essential appointments that do not require immediate attention (within approximately two weeks’ time) should be rescheduled, if possible.
Following these best practices for social distancing will greatly help to reduce spread of the novel coronavirus. In addition to the above changes in habit, here is additional advice that will help your community to better reduce the spread of COVID-19:
* Face masks should be reserved for those who are ill and caretakers. While the above rules for social distancing should still be followed, those who show no symptoms of illness do not need to wear a face mask.
Face masks should be reserved for those who are showing symptoms, those sharing a household with someone showing symptoms, and medical professionals.
* COVID-19 is a respiratory disease. Since the novel coronavirus does not pass via the digestive tract, there is no need to purchase excessive quantities of related items, such as toilet paper or baby wipes.
The Marshall-Lyon County Library is deeply invested in the health of our patrons and staff. Please follow our regular updates for information on how COVID-19 is currently affecting our services.