The year 2020 has been such a tough one to endure, that it’s hard sometimes to remember our lives pre-pandemic. We have all had to adjust to a new way of working and living, and this new way of life extends to our leisure activities.
Now, having endured months and months of restrictions and disruptions to our daily lives, South Africa is finally emerging from these restrictions, with the country having dropped to Level 1 restrictions on 21 September.
And with the year winding down and restrictions easing, many South Africans will be looking to travel on their traditional end-of-year-holidays. Travelling will be a bit different though to what people are used to; Covid-19 is still very much around, and as such, people will have to take precautions and get used to travelling in a different way.
Here are some tips on how to safely navigate Covid while travelling:
Don’t forget about the Covid-safety basics
You’ve heard about it for months and months, but it still bears mentioning: it is crucial to implement basic safety precautions around Covid, especially when you are travelling.
- Wear a face mask whenever you are in close contact with people, especially indoors – make sure that the mask covers your mouth and nose.
- Always maintain a distance of at least two metres between yourself and others as much as you possibly can (social distancing).
- Try to limit contact with frequently touched surfaces such as elevator buttons and handrails. If you have to touch these surfaces, use hand sanitiser or wash your hands afterwards.
- Avoid touching your face, including your mouth, eyes and nose.
- Cover your face when you cough or sneeze.
- Regularly wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol.
What precautions should I take if I’m at a swimming pool?
If you’re on summer holiday, it’s very likely that you will frequent a swimming pool. There is no evidence that Covid-19 can be spread through water sources such as pools or water play areas, as correct maintenance of the facilities (including disinfection with chlorine) should inactivate the virus in the water. However, it is still important to take the necessary precautions to ensure your health and safety, including wearing masks when you’re not in the pool and practising good hygiene in general.
How can I safely go to the beach?
The fact that the beach is outdoors already means that it is safer to go there than to an outdoor venue. To further ensure your safety, you should simply take the same precautions that you would at any other social setting or public venue, such as the supermarket or a clothes store. As such, make sure that you avoid groups of people that are larger than 10 people, continue practising proper social distancing and wear a face mask whenever people are in close contact and you’re not swimming in the ocean. Also, don’t forget to bring the hand sanitiser!
What safety tips should I know when travelling by car, plane or train?
While each mode of transport is safe, you should still be aware of these precautions:
Car: As long as you’re travelling with someone whom you’re living with, your journey should proceed as normal (wear a mask if travelling with anybody else). When stopping for petrol, food or lodging, adhere to the usual protective recommendations – social distancing, sanitiser and wearing a mask when around others.
Aeroplane, Train and Bus: Undoubtedly, travelling in public transport presents the greatest risk of the virus being transmitted. The nature of public transport means that you will sit for a long period in close contact with strangers who may very well have the virus. As such, you should be on high alert when travelling by plane, train and bus– wear a mask all the time, sanitise or wash your hands regularly and sanitise surfaces that you come into contact with. Fortunately, the air on these modes of transport is filtered regularly, but this air is still recycled, so take every precaution you can.
What if I go to a social gathering (like a braai) at someone’s home?
Social gatherings are fine, but it’s better to keep these gatherings small (no more than 10 people if possible). It’s also better for social gatherings to be held outdoors and to have no more than 10 people present. It’s advisable to rather use and supply plastic utensils that can be disposed of after use. When not eating, remember to use your protective mask.
By simply taking these sensible and widespread precautionary measures related to Covid-19, your holiday shouldn’t feel much different than it usually would. So stay aware, stay safe, and bring on the sun and sand!
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