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Any college student knows that COVID-19 has made socialization difficult. For months, many of us haven’t seen friends or extended family, gone to parties and bars, celebrated big events, or even just gone out to run errands. As crazy as this may seem, it was necessary to slow down the spread of the virus. 

COVID-19 is not even close to being controlled yet, but now that some research has been done on how to protect ourselves while we’re around others, we can start to socialize. However, we have to be careful about it. Keep reading to find out how to have fun while keeping yourself and others safe from COVID-19.

1. Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask is easily one of the most important ways to protect yourself and others from catching COVID-19. After months of studying the virus, researchers found that droplets can spread the disease very easily. Droplets are molecules that anybody can emit when they breathe or sneeze. Gross, right? Be sure to put a mask over your mouth and nose and keep those particles to yourself.

2. Bring Hand Sanitizer

Remember when we were all obsessed with Bath & Body Works hand sanitizers in middle school? Having some Warm Vanilla Sugar or Caribbean Escape would be even more useful now than ever. Hand sanitizer is hard to come by, but if you have some make sure you bring it when you go out. It’s an easy way to clean your hands when you don’t have access to a bathroom. Plus, you can share it with your friends and worry less about exchanging germs. Make sure you wash your hands when you get home, too.

3. Think About Your Family’s Health

Maybe you have an immunocompromised person in your home, someone over the age of 60, or a close friend who is simply scared of catching the virus. No matter how your home life is being affected by COVID-19, think about the other members of your household before you make any decisions about going out. You wouldn’t want to be the reason that anyone you love gets sick.

4. Limit the Number of People

In New York, it’s recommended that people gather in groups of no more than 50 people. Personally, I don’t feel comfortable being around more than 2 or 3 until vaccines are administered. It all depends on your situation, though– if you or a close family member are immunocompromised, you’ll want to play it safe. If this doesn’t apply to you, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to be careful, but you can invite a few more people to hang out.

5. Keep Your Distance

Yes, even from your best friend. It’s extremely difficult to see your friends and family and not hug them, but maintaining six feet distance is recommended by the CDC. If you’re in the car with a friend, put a mask on and open the windows. You can take your mask off while eating, but try not to face your friend or sit too close together.

6. Try to Stay Outside

Keeping your distance from others is easier if you’re outside. While it’s still warm out, try to spend time with your friends at the beach, outdoor restaurants, berry picking, or swimming. It would be especially smart to buy a waterproof mask for the beach and the pool (or a communal shower if you’re going back to school!). Although bars, indoor restaurants, and malls are open, they are not necessarily safe places to be right now– especially for large groups or for long amounts of time!

COVID-19 is definitely a concern, but don’t let the fear of catching it keep you from safely seeing your friends and family. If you follow these guidelines for going out, you and your friends should stay healthy. Soon enough, a vaccine will be developed and everything will go back to normal. But for now, stay calm and wear a mask!

You can reach out to me on Instagram @jilleenbarrett or email me at jbarrett02@manhattan.edu.

 

Jilleen Barrett is a communication major with a minor in women's studies at Manhattan College. She is a member of various clubs, such as the school newspaper and Sigma Delta Tau. She loves running, baking, and going on bike rides around her neighborhood on Long Island. She is excited to be writing for HerCampus!
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