As summer approaches and you’re itching to get out of the house, you might wonder which activities are safe and which you should avoid. We’ve answered some of the questions you’ve had about specific activities. And NPR asked experts to rate the riskiness of some summer activities. But you can mostly answer these questions for yourself by considering these five factors:
- People: Who are you spending time with and how many of them are there? Fewer people means less risk. Meeting with one other person who has stayed home for the past two months is much less risky than meeting with ten people who have high-risk jobs.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE): Face masks aren’t magic and don’t eliminate the possibility of spreading COVID-19. But if you have to be in close quarters, wearing a cloth face covering may reduce your risk.
- Time: The chance you might catch COVID-19 from someone else is proportional to the amount of time you spend with them. Passing someone on the street is very low risk. Sharing a two-hour meal with someone is riskier.
- Space: COVID-19 mainly spreads from person-to-person, so maintaining spatial distance (aim for 6 feet or more) from other people lowers your risk.
- Place: Where you’re at affects your risk, too. Socializing with others in open spaces outdoors is less risky than spending time with others in a smaller, indoor space with limited ventilation.
So meeting one or two friends at a park (outdoors), for a quick (30 minutes), distanced (6 feet part) visit would be a very low-risk activity. But going to a longer (90 minutes), indoor concert or church service with 100 other people would present a much higher risk of exposure and infection.
Of course, plans and policies for each state and city will vary, so check with your local authorities for specific guidance on what’s allowed. And your individual risk depends on your age and health.
Last update: May 24, 2020, 10:00 am ET
Science review: JAB