29 Jun Phase 4 in Illinois: How to Stay Safe as the State Continues to Re-Open
By Ruben Rucoba, MD
This past Friday, June 26, the state entered Phase 4 of its re-opening plan. Now, Illinois residents can plan on attending indoor dining, museums, zoos, gyms and health clubs, movie theaters, as well as other previously shuttered venues and attractions. But as we’ve seen in other states, a rush to activities and discarding the practices that have kept us safe for the past several months can have disastrous consequences. So here are some tips to stay safe as we venture from our homes:
- Wear your mask. We know the simple things work, so keep doing them. Wear the mask whenever you are indoors (besides your home) and make sure it covers your mouth and nose. Masks with filters are actually not as good as a well-fitted cloth mask. When removing the mask, grab the mask by the loops.
- Wash your hands. Good hand hygiene is easy and protective. Wash your hands before eating and after using the restroom. Use hand gel or wash your hands frequently throughout the day. When you wash, wash for at least 20 seconds. If using hand sanitizer, make sure your hand sanitizer is at least greater than 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.
- Practice social distancing. Stand at least 6 feet apart from others (besides those who live with you), both inside and outside at all times.
- Try to be outside when possible. Your risk of catching COVID is much higher indoors, so if you can, eat and spend more time outdoors when possible.
- Avoid large crowds, both indoors and outdoors. Avoid places and events that attract large groups of people, especially where they are crowded closely together, such as concerts or bars.
- Limit gatherings to 10 people or less.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes. A tissue is best (as long as you immediately discard it properly), but if you don’t have one, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Stay home if you are sick. Don’t go to work or school or social gatherings if you are sick.
- Still be cautious. Just because your gym is now open, doesn’t mean you have to go. If you or someone you live with is more vulnerable (has a chronic illness, is immunocompromised or elderly), then consider avoiding places and events that put you at higher risk.