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"My state is reopening — and I have questions"

As many states begin to reopen, it's exciting to think about getting out of the house and resuming some of the activities we all knew and loved before the COVID-19 outbreak. Still, in order to truly stop the spread of the virus and prevent a second wave, we all have to take necessary precautions each and every time we leave the house.

Here are answers to five questions that are on GL readers' minds:

"Do I have to wear a mask everywhere?"
The CDC still recommends wearing a cloth face mask when out in public, as they help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Think of it this way: It's possible to have COVID-19 without feeling serious symptoms, and you don't want to accidentally pass the virus to other people. Plus, masks are now a legit accessory — you can make your own from a cute pattern, or scoop up the cute ones at Aerie and other online retailers.

"Can I see my friends?"
Look to your state's guidelines for this one, as they vary depending on the seriousness of the outbreak in each state. For example, in New York State, Governor Andrew Cuomo recommends that social gatherings be limited to 10 people, while just over the bridge in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy recommends that that number can be stretched to 25 when outside. If you plan on seeing your besties, it's best to stay outside and maintain a 6-foot distance. 

"Can I play my favorite sport?"
Low-contact sports like tennis and golf are fairly safe, but others, like basketball and volleyball, are more risky. Think about the amount of physical contact that usually arises in the sport of your choice: Can you still play while maintaining a 6-foot distance? If the answer is yes and your state guidelines allow, go for it. If the answer is no, consider taking up one of those low-contact sports for now. In fact, why not organize an outdoor yoga or dance session for your basketball team so that you can stay in shape, socialize *and* social-distance? 

"Can I visit my grandparents?"
It's a good idea to talk to your parents about this one to assess the risk. COVID-19 causes more serious complications for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions, so you want to be extra careful with your grandparents. Again, outdoor meet-ups where you can wear masks and maintain a 6-foot distance are best, so a family BBQ in the yard is likely a better choice than snuggling on the couch for a movie night. Still, if your parents think the risk is too great, ramp up the FaceTime sessions to make Grandma and Grandpa feel loved and connected. 

"Can I go shopping?"
Many retail stores are opening up, but it's probably not a good idea to cruise the mall for hours just yet. If you really need something and the store is open, go for it, but make sure to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you feel like the store is getting too crowded and it's making you uneasy, play it safe and duck out. Also, make sure to allow for extra time at the store. An errand that used to take 10 minutes may take 20 or 30 minutes if the store is limiting the amount of people who can shop at any given time. 

by Jacqueline F. | 5/29/2020
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