A practical guide: How to go on holiday safely in the time of Covid-19
It’s that time of year again. Summer is here, the matric exams are under way and thoughts are turning towards some well-earned rest and recreation. But this year, everything is different. With the coronavirus pandemic still very much with us, how do we go on holiday in a way that’s safe?
Some people might be worried about talk of the “second wave”, “reinfections” and “long Covid”, while others have “Covid fatigue” and are getting on with life as if everything was back to normal.
Can we even think of enjoying the summer break? The answer is yes, if you follow these basic guidelines:
- Keep your distance – avoid crowds whenever possible, irrespective of whether you are at home, on vacation or travelling. If you can’t avoid gatherings, remain in the group for as short a time as possible, preferably less than 15 minutes;
- Wear a fabric (cloth) mask, whenever you go out in public and will be in close contact with people, such as in shopping malls, on public transport and especially when indoors with people with whom you don’t live;
- Do as many activities as possible outdoors;
- Avoid indoor venues with poor ventilation; wherever possible, open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate;
- Regularly wash your hands with soap, or sanitise your hands, especially when outside the home and where you are likely to touch surfaces in public places;
- Stay away from people if you are sick or if they are ill, and obtain medical advice on what to do if Covid-19 is suspected;
- Adhere to all of these even if you have had Covid-19 before; we do not know enough about immunity yet.
On the road
- Keep your bathroom and food stops as brief as possible.
- Where possible and practical, wipe down the places you may touch, like toilet seats and taps.
- Try to eat outside your vehicle, while maintaining physical distance.
- Always wear your mask over your mouth AND nose.
- If you fiddle with the outside of your mask, always wash or sanitise your hands afterwards.
Arriving at your destination
- There is absolutely no need to “deep cleanse” your accommodation – avoid harmful and unnecessary chemicals and remember that simple soap and water is a highly effective way of killing the virus. These are things you may want to consider doing:
- Immediately open all windows to allow proper ventilation;
- Give a quick wipe down to high touch areas with any household cleaner or alcohol-based rub – door handles, TV remotes, railings;
- Do as much outdoors as you can;
Having fun in the Sun
- Do everything you can outdoors – dispersal of the virus by wind is very effective. Sun is a good disinfectant. Take advantage of Plett’s generally good weather over December. Some tips:
- Avoid kissing and hugging people outside your pod. Elbow greet and blow kisses.
- For those big family gatherings, try to get everyone to agree to gather outdoors and set up protocols for children who might want to play.
- A braai or meal outside is an excellent alternative to dinner indoors.
- If you go to a restaurant, choose an outdoor option whenever possible, or try to sit near an open window. It is crucial for restaurants to have windows open; ask them to have them open and dress warmer if it is a cool evening. If you are happy to risk indoor dining with closed windows, consider that staff may not have a choice.
- Swimming in the sea, in pools and elsewhere outdoors is very safe. The beach may be one of the safest places to be.
- Hiking outdoors in small groups is very safe.
We all need to help protect those around us and be aware of our actions, but that does not mean you cannot go on holiday – just know that SARS-CoV-2 is still out there.
If you take these fairly easy, sensible measures, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the summer.
Be safe & See you soon!