Watson: If you don’t have symptoms, going out in nature where you are not within six feet of other people is okay. We need to look after our mental and physical health, and fresh air, nature, and exercise are really important for that. However, meeting people is risky and could undermine our collective sacrifice to reduce viral transmission, especially if you don’t keep your distance. If you do go out with a friend, stay at least six feet away and avoid physical contact.
Read: Here’s who should be avoiding crowds right now
Should I be worried about going to the grocery store?
Cannuscio: I would say try to shop at times when there are very few other shoppers there. That [could mean] going first thing in the morning when the store opens, or late at night. I think many people will rely on delivery, and that’s just the nature of our lives right now. For delivery workers, I would say, leave the food on the doorstep and ring the bell, rather than interacting face-to-face with the person who’s ordered the food.
Should I take public transportation?
Cannuscio: First of all, people who have the opportunity or the option of working at home should absolutely use that option right now. For people who have essential functions and have to be at work, if they have any flexibility in their schedules they should try to ride at non-peak hours. On subways or buses, people should try to stand as far away from other people as possible. I think it’s important for planners to think about, for example, putting more buses on the most heavily traveled routes, to maybe thin out the crowds on those buses. In cities where it’s possible to walk, that would be a better option.
For people who can afford to use ride-sharing services, you’re limiting the number of people you’re in contact with as the rider, so to me that seems like a reasonable step to take. Of course, I worry about all those drivers who have people in and out of their cars all day long.
And of course, everyone should be using good hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. If you have to cough, cough into your elbow. And I can’t believe I have to say this, but I’ve been in public places where people have been spitting, in parks or on the sidewalk. I would ask people not to spit!
Watson: It’s hard to say “Don’t take public transit,” because a lot of people rely on it to get to work. If you don’t have to and you can drive, it’s probably a good idea. It will help other people who have to take public transit for their livelihoods to do so and do so more safely.
Should my family be canceling events like birthday parties AND weddings?
As of March 15, the CDC recommends that all gatherings involving 50 people or more be canceled for at least the next eight weeks.
Cannuscio: One of the best ways we can show love to the people we care about is to step back and to stay away. In many cases that takes courage, and it takes speaking out over these social norms that dictate that we should be polite and we should be together and we should celebrate and gather.
Should I stop visiting elderly relatives?
Watson: I think we should start limiting visitation to people who are in assisted-living facilities and nursing homes. I know that’s really tough, and maybe setting things up so you can visit them virtually is a good idea. [That way], they can see you and say hello, [without putting] them at extra risk.