The COVID-19 crisis is far from over. However, on May 15 New York state will begin reopening and it is not the only state on its way to ending quarantine. New Jersey doesn’t have an official date to start the reopening process, but they are part of an Eastern coalition of states working on a plan to resume working operations. The process will be long and slow to prevent a brand new wave of cases. So what will reopening look like and how do you continue to stay safe? Here’s what you need to know.
What does reopening look like?
The process of reopening will differ depending on where you are in the country. Some states have only just implemented quarantines while others, like New York, are planning to reopen in May. However, it must be done carefully to not create new waves of COVID-19 that could overwhelm medical professionals.
No matter what state you live in, there are a few things you should be aware of. The reopening will likely be a long process, taking several weeks, or even months, and should happen in stages. The first industries to reopen will be manufacturing and construction, where business owners will need to provide their workers with protective gear. After this, other businesses that are essential will start to reopen.
Restaurants, bars, other eateries, and many service industry businesses like hairdressers, nail salons, and barbers will likely be the last to reopen due to how much contact is involved. Other businesses likely to come back last include malls, amusement parks, movie theaters, and other businesses where large amounts of people congregate.
States reopening will be slow in most cases to prevent new waves of the virus. Schools in some areas may not reopen for the remaining school year and many high-risk businesses like nursing homes may stay quarantined for longer. Many office employees can expect to continue working from home for at least a few weeks longer.
How can you continue to keep yourself safe?
As reopening begins, the most important thing to do is to continue to practice the habits of quarantine. Social distancing will continue to be important as will hand washing, wearing masks, and cleaning. However, the most important part of being past the curve is testing and tracking.
States will want to start testing as many people as quickly as possible. If you haven’t been tested, look up where you can go to get tested or call your doctor for more information. Most of the time you can go to urgent care. If you’re sick, urgent care is still the right option, since only 3% of patients have to be diverted to emergency departments from urgent care.
If you do begin resuming normal day to day activities, monitor where you go. If you do get sick, healthcare workers will want this information so they can trace where you may have gotten the virus from. This will also allow them to know how many other new patients might need to expect.
As states begin the slow process of reopening, stay vigilant, and informed. Continue the practices that have kept you safe so far and continue to be flexible. It may take up to a year for a vaccine to be found and for things to get back to normal. Be patient and take it slow.