Health authorities will from time to time impose stay at home restrictions, and there will be only a  small number of reasons to leave home.

There are few things you can do as you head out the door to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. A good thing to assume is that you could have the virus and so could everyone around you. If you keep this in mind you will help keep yourself and others COVID safe

  • Delay your plans if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, however mild - and get a test.
  • Wash your hands before leaving home. Take some alcohol based hand sanitizer with you. 
  • Wear a face covering and keep your hands away from your face
  • Avoid using public transport if you can. Think about the things you can do locally, and use your bike, or walk
  • Try and keep a safe distance (1.5mt, or about two arm’s length) from others when you are out. Be aware of yours and others personal space. Try not to encroach on it. If you do, apologise to the person. If someone encroaches on your space, politely ask them to move away. You can make light of the situation, getting angry doesn’t help.
  • Spend as little time out as possible. If you are shopping think ahead and make a list so you only have to go out once or twice a week. Now is not the time for browsing!
  • Think about going out at times that are not so popular (don’t shop just before dinner, try to exercise in the middle of the day).
  • If you are allowed to exercise, exercise in places that are not so popular.
  • If you are at the supermarket, use the wipes provided to wipe down your trolley.
  • Avoid handling money if you can, tap a card instead.
  • Sanitise your hands on entry to and when leaving the shop/place you are visiting
  • Avoid touching doors in public places, use your foot or hip. If you must touch door handles, sanitise your hands straight after.
  • Avoid public toilets where possible – if you do get caught short and need to make a visit, wash your hands with soap and water immediately after or use sanitiser.
  • Keep a record of any close contacts or places you have been (e.g. in your phone calendar). If you test positive for COVID-19 you will be well prepared to share the information with contact tracers when they call. It is also a good idea to call your contacts if you do test positive- and suggest they stay home until called by contact tracers, and get tested if they develop any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Some people wonder why we need to wash our hands so often. Making sure your hands are clean before entering a shop is about protecting others. Many people who have COVID-19 feel OK but are very infectious (either they are yet to develop symptoms or never develop symptoms);  this is why it is good to make sure hands are clean before you handle products that other shoppers or staff may handle. On the other hand, remembering not to touch your face while you are shopping, and to sanitise your hands on the way out (or wash them when you get home) is about protecting yourself from any germs you might have picked up while shopping (from touching products, trolleys, self-checkouts etc).

We can all develop new routines. If we practice and adopt these habits now they will help protect us from COVID-19 as well as other infections like the common cold and influenza. And while you go about your business, spare a thought for essential workers- like supermarket checkout operators, who don’t have the option to work from home. Give them a big smile and say thank you.

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