Safely Staying Connected

With flu season approaching, it is important to stay healthy, protect others and abide by CDC guidelines. That being said, social connection also has to be maintained on some level. Here are a few ways to spend quality time with family and friends while minimizing the risk of infection.

Go for a walk with friends or family and catch up. Being outdoors can greatly lower the risk of virus transmission. The same air is not recirculating the way it does in a townhouse or dorm room and infected particles may disperse far away from other people. The weather is still nice and temperate for the most part and a little mild exercise never hurts.

Eat at a patio restaurant. Current Illinois laws require restaurants to abide by safety guidelines as determined by Gov. Pritzker, so this option is a good trade-off between hiding in one’s bunker with a thousand cans of tuna and pretending the novel coronavirus does not exist whatsoever. While a mask cannot be worn while physically eating or drinking, a safe distance between others can still be maintained.

Find a drive-in movie or concert. This may be the most fun option available as it brings back a unique, nostalgic experience for those who used to attend drive-in movies when they were popular. In this way, most of the experience of seeing a movie or concert can be preserved without mixing germs with strangers in an enclosed space.

Have a picnic. Especially when kids or a romantic partner are involved, a picnic in the park can be a great way to spend time together. Try picking food and drinks normally saved for special occasions, like baked goods or red wine. Also try to limit the sharing of food, cups or utensils if combining people from different households.

Go on a road trip. Was Spring Break ruined by the stay-at-home order and travel bans? A safe replacement getaway could be to stay within one’s car and go on a trip. Plenty of sightseeing opportunities are safe and close, such as driving to the Rock Island Trail, a botanical garden or some of the areas at Starved Rock. Plan ahead and check to see if the designated places will be open during the trip dates and times.

Catching up with family and friends may be more difficult with the current limitations. However, with a little creativity and flexibility, high-quality memories can still be made.