Celebrate the sizzle of summer while curbing the spread of COVID-19

Pittsboro, NC – Summer is the season of cookouts, hanging out poolside and other fun outdoor activities. However, this summer is unlike any other as the Chatham County community, like others around the globe, continues to battle COVID-19. Public health officials remind residents that while they enjoy the pleasures of summer, there are ways to do so safely to slow the spread of the virus.

photo by Pam Menegakis

Wear a Face Covering in Public Settings Where Social Distancing May Not be Possible

As North Carolina remains in Safer At Home Phase 2 through August 7th, face coverings are still required in many public settings where maintaining distance from others is difficult as part of the governor’s executive order. As a part of the overall effort to stop the community spread of COVID-19, everyone is encouraged to wear a face covering or mask whenever they are within six feet of others not in their household in both public or  private places. Here are some examples of where to wear face coverings:

  • Restaurants: Customers should keep their distance from others and wear face coverings even when dining outdoors; face coverings should be removed only when eating and drinking.
  • Solid Waste and Recycling Collection Centers: Residents should be respectful of others by maintaining physical distance and wearing face coverings.
  • Parks and trails: Individuals are encouraged to exercise but should still maintain physical distance with those not in their household. If they are somewhere that social distancing cannot be maintained, they should wear face coverings.

New Face Covering Video

The Chatham County Public Health Department created a video to answer common questions about face coverings. Check out Face Coverings: When, Where and How to Wear Them.

“The evidence is becoming clearer and clearer that face coverings are an important and effective tool in preventing the spread of the virus,” said Chatham County Interim Public Health Director Mike Zelek. “While social distancing remains the best way to stop COVID-19, face coverings add another layer of protection, especially when social distancing is not possible. Remember: My mask protects you. Your mask protects me. Let’s all do our part to beat COVID-19 and stay #ChathamTogether.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidelines on how to safely enjoy some of summer’s most enjoyable experiences while combatting the coronavirus:

Play it Safe at Swimming Pools

There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to people through the use of recreational waters like pools. Follow safe swimming practices along with social distancing and everyday preventative actions to protect yourself, which include the following measures:

Cook up a Safe and Good Time at the Grill

  • Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart unless someone is ill – just 6 feet away from other households.
  • If planning activities for adults and/or kids, consider those where social distancing can be maintained, like sidewalk chalk art or frisbee.
  • When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, don’t shake hands, do elbow bumps, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet them.
  • Consider providing face coverings for guests or asking them to bring their own.
  • Consider providing hand sanitizer in addition to hand washing areas.
  • Avoid larger gatherings, especially if people are likely to come into close contact with those from other households.
  • For more information about safety for cookouts and other summer activities, visit the CDC’s Personal and Social Activities page.

Travel with Safety Top of Mind

  • Use options for hotel online reservation and check-in, mobile room key and contactless payment.
  • Call ahead and ask if all staff are wearing face coverings at work.
  • Look for any extra prevention practices being implemented by the hotel, such as plexiglass barriers at check-in counters, and physical distancing signs in the lobby.
  • Ask if the hotel has updated policies about cleaning and disinfecting or removing frequently touched surfaces and items (such as pens, room keys, tables, phones, remote controls, doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons and ice/vending machines).
  • For more information about safely planning travel during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit the CDC’s Considerations for Travel in the US.

“We want folks to have a fun time and make great memories this summer, but we also need everyone to remember that making smart choices will keep people healthy and safe throughout the season,” added Zelek.

For more information on COVID-19 and Chatham County’s efforts to slow the spread, visit chathamnc.org/coronavirus.