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Assessing the Risk of Labor Day Activities During COVID-19

9/3/2020
Assist America has created a rating scale for the level of risk associated with popular Labor Day Weekend activities from backyard gatherings to a pool day.  
 
Labor Day weekend is upon us, the unofficial end of summer vacations as we know it, and it is also the last weekend for a getaway for many families. Despite COVID-19 concerns, over 6 million Americans plan to fly this Labor Day Weekend, according to data from the travel management app TripIt. Whether you are planning to fly across the country or discover what your state has to offer, it is important to assess the risk of COVID-19 during the activities you have planned for this Labor Day.

Overall, the risk of getting infected with COVID-19 depends largely on how many people gather in one place, the time spent in communal areas and the need to use commonly touched surfaces. Assist America has created a rating scale for the level of risk associated with popular Labor Day Weekend activities from backyard gatherings to a pool day.  

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  1. Going Camping (Low Risk)
One of the least risky activities to partake in during Labor Day weekend is going camping given that you are outdoors and isolated and as long as you are avoiding communal picnic areas and sleeping in your own tent with close family members. This activity can become riskier if you are camping with other families or are in a densely packed camping ground where you are surrounded by people. Sleeping in tents with people outside of your household can also increase the risk of infection so limit the people whom you will be in close contact with during your trip.

  1. Beach or Pool Day (Low to Moderate Risk)
Spending time at the beach or pool during this Labor Day weekend can be refreshing for the family as long as social distancing regulations are followed. According to the CDC, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of recreational waters. Since indoor settings and crowds may increase the risk of infection, chose to visit a beach or an outdoor public pool in the early mornings or later afternoons when there are less crowds and find beaches that reserve areas for setting up.

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  1. Outdoor Celebrations (Moderate Risk)
Meeting outdoors in a spacious and open area with a small group is not as risky as meeting indoors. Safety depends on whom you invite and what their behaviors has been in regard to how well they have followed social distancing regulations. To lower risk of spreading the virus, avoid sharing food, drinks, and utensils. To limit the risk, suggest to your guests a BYO gathering, encouraging them to bring their own food and drinks. An alternative to a backyard meal is a lawn game tournament where everyone can wear masks and do not need to remove their face coverings while eating and drinking.

The risk associated with outdoor celebrations is highly dependent on the size of the gathering and how close people are to each other. The larger the guest list, the greater the potential of one person being a carrier is, especially if you are bringing together people of different communities.
 
  1. Hotel Stay (Moderate Risk)
There is relatively low risk associated with staying at a hotel when you have your own room and you limit the time spent in common areas such as the gym, lobby, elevator, or common room where the risk of exposure is greater. If you are traveling with another family and are planning to share a hotel room or car space, talk to the other family beforehand about their quarantine habits and set the same expectations for the precautions everyone should take during the trip.

To minimize risk, bring disinfecting wipes to wipe down common-touch surfaces, remove the bedspread that may not have been cleaned after every guest, ask about the hotel’s cleanliness policies and new COVID-19 policies, order room service rather than eating at the hotel’s restaurant, wear a face covering and use your knuckles or a stylus when pressing buttons in common areas.

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  1. Restaurant Dining (Medium to High Risk)
Dining out can be a high-risk activity, especially if dining indoor, as people tend to stay for longer periods of time at restaurants which makes the duration of exposure longer. The risk level of restaurants depends on how spacious the seating area is, face mask and hygiene policies for staff, reduction of self-serve areas, usage of single-use condiments, and easy access to hand-washing stations. To minimize the risk at a restaurant, prefer outdoor dining options and share meals with household members to avoid having to remove your mask near others.

  1. Shopping at the Mall (Risk Varies)
With Labor Day sales enticing you to visit your nearest shopping mall, knowing the risk associated with shopping malls becomes essential. Shopping is a great activity at any given time of the year, however, the risk associated with shopping malls depend on what type of mall it is, how crowded it gets, and how much time you spend there. The key to mitigating risks associated with shopping malls is to go with a purpose instead of shopping leisurely and making it a day of retail therapy. To limit the risk, browse the online catalog before going into the store to know what you are going in for and visit during off-peak hours when there is less of a crowd.

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  1. Late Bars and Nightclubs (High Risk)
Crowds, close contact, sweating, dancing, singing, and inhibition-loosening alcohol can all make nightclubs a very high-risk activity. As people breathe heavier, sweat, and brush against you from dancing, more virus is spread into the air that you may breathe in or rubbed against you that may come into contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth at any time.

Drinking can also make people careless about social distancing and can be the cause of more close contact from strangers whose social distance habits you do not know about. Avoid going to nightclubs during your Labor Day weekend celebrations and, instead, invite a small group of close friends and have a party at home.
 
Members requiring medical assistance while away from home during this upcoming Labor Day Weekend can call Assist America’s 24/7 Operations Center. Our Assistance Coordinators can provide referrals to healthcare providers and COVID-19 testing sites, assist in refilling a prescription and monitor your care and health condition.