How to stay safe while visiting family and friends during Level 2 lockdown

  • Level 2 lockdown means you can now legally visit friends and family
  • It's important to maintain Covid-19-preventive behaviour when you visit
  • Only 10 people at a time are allowed to visit a home 

After President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will be heading into Level 2 restrictions, many South Africans are probably planning visits with family and friends. 

While some restrictions have been lifted, it doesn't mean your vigilance should. Covid-19 is going to be part of our lives for a long time, and when enjoying long-overdue visits with loved ones, there are a few things you can do to keep yourself and everyone else safe. 

READ | Covid-19: Practical guidance on disinfecting 

Keep it small

The smaller the better. Covid-19 loves a big crowd, so rather go for individual visits instead of big parties and reunions.

At Level 2 you are also allowed 10 visitors in your home at a time, but even so, rather stick to a maximum of five or fewer for easier disinfecting. 

Curfew is still in place at 22:00, so rather opt for a lunchtime or early evening visit, so that you don't cut things too fine.

Stay masked

Masks remain the safest way to prevent spreading the virus, so keep it on, even indoors.

Wearing a mask also reminds you not to touch your face when you're in another person's home.

READ MORE | How to wash your masks correctly 

Stoep visits

It's been well-documented that super spreader events of Covid-19 tend to take place indoors and that ventilation is key, so if possible, rather opt for an outdoors visit on the stoep or in the garden.

If you're visiting with small kids, the garden is also a better option as it's easier to apply physical distancing.

No hugs

You might be extremely tempted to envelop your boet in a bear hug after not having seen him for months, but we're not out of the woods yet. Maintain your distance when visiting, and rather go for the awkward elbow tap that's become the norm.

Prep your home

If you're the one entertaining guests, make it as easy as possible to maintain Covid-19 decorum. Designate each person with their own seat; if you have more than one bathroom, make one for guests only and have hand sanitiser and paper towels handy.

If you know exactly what your visitors have touched, it's easier to disinfect afterwards.

READ | Do your keys, phone, money need disinfecting when you return home? 

Stay home if you have the sniffles

If there's just a hint of a sore throat, fatigue or any of the Covid-19 symptoms, rather stay home. You don't want to be the one who infected your Gogo just because you thought you were fine.

Staying over

Some visits may now involve staying over, which is not generally advised due to increased risk of exposure. But if you end up staying the weekend, ensure that no one else goes into the room where you're sleeping.

When you leave, take off your linen and put it into their washing machine or basket so that no one else touches it. Alternatively, the room can also be cordoned off for about nine days – that's how long the virus can survive on surfaces – to ensure that no stowaways survived your stay.

READ | How far does a virus spread in 10 hours in a hospital ward?

Make sure everyone's on the same page

You might think your Covid-19 precautions are the same as those of your friends, but one thing the pandemic has taught us is that no one can agree on everything. Make it clear to your visitors about keeping their masks on and how you've prepped your house. And if you're the visitor, you are well within your rights to ask what they are doing to keep things safe.

It's important to keep the communication lines open and address any concerns someone might have. Don't dismiss their worries just because you don't agree with them.

Assess you risk

But most importantly, be honest with yourself and your household over interactions with high-risk individuals.

Are your parents over the age of 70? Is your best friend diabetic? Is your housemate a healthcare worker? Do you yourself have any comorbidities? Everyone has the right to determine what risks they are willing to take, but with that also comes a level of responsibility to your loved ones.

Be safe, keep your distance, and if in doubt, rather stay home.

READ MORE | New study of healthcare workers could identify who’s most at risk for coronavirus

Image credit: Pixabay

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