Tips to keep you safer during July 4th weekend amid coronavirus

If you plan on heading out to the polls, your polling place will likely look very different.

Now that people are venturing out of their homes — going to parks, malls and local attractions — it’s tempting to think everything is back to normal.

And this Fourth of July weekend will likely bring more people out. Although most big fireworks events have been canceled this year, there are a few places where the show will go on.

If you’re venturing back out into the world, there are precautions you can take to lessen your chances of contracting the coronavirus.

» Joy, caution as virus-weary folks flock to reopened malls and stores

There is no guarantee you won’t be exposed to the coronavirus, but these steps might keep you safer. Some you’ve heard a hundred times, but others might not have occurred to you.

Keep your distance: Experts agree you need to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from anyone you don't live with. This means no shaking hands, bumping fists or hugging, even if you run in to a friend you haven't seen since lockdown began. If you have to take public transportation, sit or stand as far from others as possible.

Wear your mask: A cloth mask should cover both your nose and mouth. Before putting on your mask, the World Health Organization recommends, wash your hands or sanitize them with alcohol. Avoid touching the mask while using it. If you must touch it, sanitize your hands again. Remove your mask from behind, being careful not to touch the front of it. Single-use masks should be tossed in a covered trash bin. Reusable masks should be washed by hand with soap or put in the laundry.

» Have a reusable face mask? Here's how to wash it the right way

Stop touching things with your fingertips: You have more body parts than just your fingertips, and now is the time to use them. Push elevator buttons and PIN pads with a knuckle. Open doors with your shoulder or hip, or check to see if there is an automatic button. Flip switches and turn on faucets with your elbow or wrist, recommends. When shopping for produce, use the store's fresh bags on your hand before digging through the tomatoes or apples.

» Curb coronavirus: 13 ways to stop touching your face

Keep your phone in your pocket or purse: Resist the urge to put your cellphone on the table if you go out to eat. Don't put your phone on the counter when checking out at the store. If you're grocery shopping, don't handle your phone once you start touching items in the store. If you have to, clean the phone with a disinfectant wipe as soon as possible.

Leave your reusable bags at home: Carrying the same bag back and forth from home to stores increases the chance of spreading germs.

Cash out: If possible, avoid using cash right now. Consider using Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay. If you use your credit or debit card, remember to use your knuckle on the key/signature pad.

Wash your hands: When you get home, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water.

» Why the CDC recommends you wash your hands a certain way

It’s understandable you want to get out of the house, especially with summer break here, and festivals and concerts being rescheduled. Taking precautions might ensure these outings stay enjoyable and don’t lead to illness.

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