As Virginia, North Carolina reopen, experts offer safety tips

Posted at 2:19 PM, May 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 17:32:58-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Leaders are starting to give a timeline on when and how they want to open up North Carolina and Virginia.

While details are still being worked out, health experts warn the public that they still need to be careful.

“We need to keep that in mind. We think that the opportunities or conditions are improved to a point that we could begin to open up,” said Dr. Brian C. Martin with Eastern Virginia Medical School's School of Health Professions. He said the coronavirus is still around and people need to take precautions.

Many people are eager to return to their favorite restaurants. Experts suggest sitting outside if you can and checking out the restaurant’s safety protocols before you go. They also say you should wash your hands before you get there and before you eat.

“Eating outside is a little bit safer, so if they have outside dining, absolutely that would be a better choice than in the restaurant," said Dr. Ryan Light with the Tidewater Physicians Multispecialty Group. "If you need to eat in the restaurant it should still be safe."

Many people really want to get back into the gym, but local experts warn that people are sweaty and breathing heavily as they work out, possibly causing heightened exposure to the coronavirus.

Light said you should space yourself out by more than just 6 feet when possible. He said the further away from others, the better, and you should also make sure to wipe down the equipment before and after you use it.

“Everybody understands the rules, and they want get their businesses open,” Light said.

When you go to the salon, it’s hard not to get close to the stylist or technician. Experts say to make sure they are abiding by the proper protocol at their work stations, and while you wait for your appointment, stand outside to keep your distance.

They say wear a mask and keep social distancing.

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Expert encourage people to follow the rules at parks and beaches, and they say don’t go if it too crowded. Avoid meeting in big groups or playing games where there is close contact with others.

“Make sure you’re getting that social distancing. When you’re outdoors, you can get as far away from other people as possible, which is good,” Light said.

And if you need to travel, think about what you are touching, distance yourself and sit away from others when possible. You should also carry wipes to disinfect the surfaces you come in contact with.

“I would definitely wear a mask,” Light added.

When it come to voting, you will need to touch things. Town and city elections in Virginia were supposed to be held May 5, but COVID-19 forced them to be moved to May 19.

The CDC says to keep your distance at least six feet apart and try to vote during off-peak hours.

“What we were attempting to do with the shutdown is slow the transmission. We are just trying to slow it down so that we would not overwhelm the medical system. I think we’ve accomplished the goal, so it’s time to get back to doing what we do as Americans, enjoying the liberty that we have, the freedoms that we have and enjoying our lives and getting back to prosperity again,” Light said.

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