Personal and Social Activities

Personal and Social Activities

What you need to know

  • Stay home if sick.
  • Wear masks in public settings, like on public and mass transportation, at events and gatherings, and anywhere they will be around other people.
  • Use social distancing (stay at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Before you go, call and ask what extra prevention strategies they are using, like requiring staff to wear masks.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home.

Dining at a restaurant

Check the restaurant’s COVID-19 prevention practices before you go

  • Check the restaurant’s website and social media to see if they have updated their information to address any COVID-19 safety guidelines.
  • Before you go to the restaurant, call and ask if all staff are wearing masks while at work.
  • Ask about options for self-parking to remove the need for a valet service.
couple in masks at an outdoor cafe, with a waitress in a mask and gloves

Wear masks when less than 6 feet apart from other people or indoors

Take steps to protect yourself at the restaurant

  • Wear masks when less than 6 feet apart from other people or indoors.
  • Take precautions – like wearing a mask as much as possible when not eating and maintaining a proper social distance if you are dining with others who don’t live with you.
  • Maintain a social distance of 6 feet or more in any entryway, hallway, or waiting area.
  • When possible, sit outside at tables spaced at least 6 feet apart from other people.
  • When possible, choose food and drink options that are not self-serve to limit the use of shared serving utensils, handles, buttons, or touchscreens.

Clean hands

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting the restaurant. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Before using the restroom, make sure there is adequate soap and paper towels or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.

Hosting gatherings or cook-outs

Remind guests to stay home if they are sick

  • Remind invited guests to stay home if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health. Invited guests who live with those at higher risk should also consider the potential risk to their loved ones.
  • Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs.

Encourage social distancing

  • Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated (for example, open a window).
  • 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 – just 6 feet away from other families.
  • 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.

Wear masks

  • Wear masks when less than 6 feet apart from people or indoors.
  • Consider providing masks for guests or asking them to bring their own.

Clean hands often

  • Consider providing hand sanitizer in addition to clearly marked hand washing areas.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Make sure there is adequate soap or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available in the restrooms and encourage guests not to form a line at the door. Consider also providing cleaning supplies that allow guests to wipe down surfaces before they leave.
  • Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
  • Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.

Limit the number of people handling or serving food

  • Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
  • Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
  • If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
  • Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.

Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items

  • Use touchless garbage cans or pails.
  • Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
  • Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
  • If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event. 

Attending an event or gathering

Prepare before you go:

  • Stay home if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (symptoms of COVID-19) , if you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, or may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Check with the organizer or event venue for updated information about any COVID-19 safety guidelines and if they have steps in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Prioritize attending outdoor activities over indoor activities and stay within your local area as much as possible.
  • Bring supplies to help you and others stay healthy—for example, masks (bring extra), hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, and drinking water.

Use social distancing and limit physical contact

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet or more from people who don’t live in your household. Be particularly mindful in areas where it may harder to keep this distance, such as check-in areas, parking lots, and routes of entry and exit.
  • Select seating or determine where to stand based on the ability to keep 6 feet of space from people who don’t live in your household, including if you will be eating or drinking.
  • Arrive to the event early or at off-peak times to avoid crowding and congested areas.
  • Avoid using restroom facilities or concession areas at high traffic times, such as intermission, half-time, or immediately at the end of the event.

Wear masks

  • Wear a mask when interacting with other people to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.
    • Wearing masks is most important when social distancing is difficult.
    • Masks are strongly encouraged in settings where individuals might raise their voices, such as shouting, chanting, or singing.

Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items

  • Use touchless garbage cans or pails and cashless payment options when possible. Otherwise, exchange cash or card by placing payment in a receipt tray, if available, or on the counter.
  • Avoid any self-serve food or drink options, such as buffets, salad bars, and condiment or drink stations. Use grab-and-go meal options, if available.
  • Use disposable food service items including utensils and dishes, if available.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer immediately before eating food or after touching any common surfaces like hand railings, payment kiosks, door handles, and toilets. 

Using gyms or fitness centers

Prepare before you go

  • Use options for online reservations and check-in systems when available.
  • Look for any extra prevention practices being implemented by the facility, such as new plexiglass barriers, staff wearing masks, and closing of shared locker room space.
  • Be prepared that locker room access may be limited to the restroom area only, prohibiting the use of shower and changing areas.

Limit activity indoors, especially group activities

  • Seek facilities with outdoor space or options for virtual classes and training sessions as much as possible.
  • Limit attendance at indoor group training sessions.  If you do attend such a session, maintain as much distance as possible between yourself and other individuals, and use masks if they do not interfere with your activity. If you need to be indoors, open windows to increase airflow throughout the space.

Use social distancing and limit physical contact

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of separation as much as possible in areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) among other people, such as weight rooms, group fitness studios, pools and saunas, courts and fields, walking/running tracks, locker rooms, check-in areas, parking lots, and routes of entry and exit.
  • Don’t shake hands, give high-fives, do elbow bumps, or touch others because close contact increases the risk of acquiring COVID-19.

Take extra precautions with shared equipment

  • Ensure equipment is clean and disinfected. Wipe down machines and equipment with disinfecting wipes and use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol before using machines.
  • Do not share items that cannot be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected between use, such as resistance bands and weightlifting belts.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask when interacting with other people to minimize the risk of transmitting the virus.
    • Wearing masks is most important when physical distancing is difficult and when exercise type and intensity allows. Consider doing any vigorous-intensity exercise outside when possible and stay at least 6 feet away from other participants, trainers, and clients if unable to wear a mask.
    • If possible, wear a mask when walking on an indoor track or when doing stretching or low-intensity forms of yoga indoors.
    • Wash your hands before adjusting your mask—review information about proper use, removal, and washing of masks.

Going to a nail salon

nail technician and customer both wearing a mask

Wear a mask

Prepare for your appointment

  • Book services in advance to remove the need for waiting in a lobby with other people. If you must wait, maintain social distance.
  • Before you go, call and ask if all staff are wearing masks at work and if there are physical barriers to minimize risk of transmission (e.g., plexiglass barriers).
  • If offered by the salon, wait in your car or outside until you can be contacted by mobile phone when it is your turn to be seen for an appointment.

Wear a mask

  • Wear a mask at all times when inside the salon.

Wash hands often and limit contact with common surfaces or items

  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately before receiving your service and after touching any common surfaces like curing lamps, countertops, doorknobs, toilets, tables, light switches, phones, faucets, sinks, and keyboards.
  • Use cashless payment options when possible. If not available, ensure that cash and cards are handled with care by employees either by changing gloves between each transaction or with use of hand sanitizer between clients.
  • Look for no-touch waste baskets at the cash registers and in the restrooms.

Visiting a library

woman in a face covering reading in the library

Choose digital materials or use curbside pick-up, when possible

Use curbside pickup or choose digital materials

  • Use online reservation and advance-order checkout systems, if possible.
  • Choose digital over print materials, if possible.
  • Request a curbside pick-up if available and use masks during pick-up exchanges.

Clean hands when handling shared items or electronics

  • Wash your hands before and after exchanges.
  • Clean and disinfect electronics (laptops) and library materials in plastic containers (CDs, audio books) during returns and/or exchanges.
  • If allowed and available inside the library, use computer stations one person at a time. Ensure they are cleaned before use and use a disinfectant wipe on the mouse and keyboard.

Traveling overnight

man and woman in mask checking into a hotel

Wear a mask in the lobby or other common areas

Check the hotel’s COVID-19 prevention practices before you go

  • Use options for online reservation and check-in, mobile room key, and contactless payment.
  • Before you go, call and ask if all staff are wearing masks 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, doorknobs, light switches, elevator buttons, water fountains, ATMs/card payment stations, business center computers and printers, ice/vending machines, and remote controls).

Wear masks and limit close contact with others

  • Wear a mask in the lobby or other common areas.
  • Minimize use of areas that may lead to close contact (within 6 feet) with other people as much as possible, like break rooms, outside patios, inside lounging areas, dining areas/kitchens, game rooms, pools, hot tubs, saunas, spas, salons, and fitness centers.
  • Consider taking the stairs. Otherwise wait to use the elevator until you can either ride alone or only with people from your household.

Choose contactless options, when possible

  • Request contactless delivery for any room service order.
  • If you are considering cleaning your travel lodgings, see CDC’s guidance on how to clean and disinfect.

Protect yourself and others when you travel away your community

Visiting parks and recreational facilities
  • Parks and recreational facilities can offer health benefits, but it is important that you take steps to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. Learn what you can do to stay safe when visiting parks and recreational facilities.
box tissue light icon

Protect Your Health This Flu Season

It’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both spread this fall and winter. Here is what you should know this season, including information on how to protect yourself and your family against flu by getting a flu vaccine.