The reopening of businesses in America is positive and a sigh of relief to many people, but it comes with an increased risk of a spike in COVID-19 cases. Many places have flattened the curve, but the first week of June 2020 has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in 20 states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends social distancing as a preventative measure, but this is near impossible for certain workers and patrons at select businesses.
On the whole, healthcare workers still have the greatest risk of contracting the virus because they deal with person-to-person contact every day. Employees in nursing homes and first responders (paramedics and firefighters) also have a high risk of infection. Now that businesses are reopening, people have to worry about three things:
- How frequently you have to perform job tasks in close proximity to others
- How often people at jobs are exposed to hazardous conditions
- How often the job requires contact with others
As businesses reopen, they have to follow a list of recommended safety measures to keep both employees and customers safe and healthy. Most businesses, including gyms, restaurants, and bars have to regularly disinfect commonly touched surfaces or establish physical barriers in communal areas. There is no one-size-fits-all plan for all businesses because each business is different. There is a responsibility put on both customers/patrons to businesses and the employees of those businesses to follow guidelines and ensure that steps are being taken to avoid viral transmission.
The Highest Risk Businesses
Beaches And Community Pools
First off, we have to clarify that your risk of contracting the virus in the ocean or in a pool is relatively low. Water activity is not the primary concern at these locations; rather, the concern is on the beach or around the pool. Public beaches and pools can get crowded rather quickly. Social distancing and wearing masks is encouraged, but overcrowding happens easily, so if you are unable to distance yourselves from others, leave the area for your own safety.
After work drinks, Friday night hangs, or date nights happen at bars. While people may miss social drinking and bar ambiance, bars are very high risk during the pandemic, which is far from over. It is difficult to maintain a six-foot distance between you and others at bars, where close proximity is inevitable. People yell, laugh, share drinks, and dance at bars, which commonly have poor HVAC systems. Even if people wear masks, they will have to frequently remove them to drink, but this is impractical at bars.
Concert Halls, Churches, And Theaters
These venues are not open in all states yet, but they may be opening in the upcoming months. Since the CDC warns against gatherings of 10 or more, these venues pose serious risks for COVID-19 transmission. Concerts and church assemblies are less likely to have the proper physical barriers, so people should be selective when choosing venues to attend.
Hair And Nail Salons
Quarantine put everyone on an even playing field for beard and hair care. Naturally, people are very excited to return to their nail salons or stylists and barbers, even though they are some of the highest risk places to visit. Most salons or barbershops have social distancing and increased sanitation measures in place, but you still need to take precautions. Call your establishment and inquire about their setup or policies for reopening.
As you venture back into the world of reopened businesses, please keep all of these things in mind and protect yourself whenever possible. Keep your distance and stay safe to stay healthy.