COVID-19 safety: Tips for restaurants, salons and the gym

Take steps to protect yourself from COVID-19. Find out how to safely visit restaurants, go to the gym and more.

If you are visiting public places in your community, it’s important to understand what steps you should to take to protect yourself from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Here's what you need to know.

Before you head out

The best way to protect yourself from the COVID-19 virus is to get a COVID-19 vaccine. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after you get a second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine or 2 weeks after you get a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. After you are fully vaccinated, you can return to doing activities that you might not have been able to do because of the pandemic. You can also stop wearing a mask or social distancing in any setting, except where required by a rule or law. However, you will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other public transportation traveling to, within, or out of the U.S., as well as in places such as airports and train stations.

If you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine, continue avoiding close contact (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters) with others. Wear a face mask in indoor public spaces and outdoors where there is a high risk of COVID-19 transmission, such as at a crowded event or large gathering.

In addition, practice good hygiene and if you feel sick, stay home.

Safety tips for public places

It might be helpful to check out a venue’s safety guidelines ahead of time. Also, consider these specific safety tips if you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine.

Restaurants and bars

When visiting a restaurant or bar:

  • Look for outdoor seating with at least 6 feet (2 meters) between groups. If the restaurant has an outdoor eating structure, make sure at least one side is open.
  • Avoid busy times of day or night.
  • If you’re eating or attending a bar indoors, wear a face mask. Tables should be spaced at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart.
  • Ask for individual condiment packets, if possible.
  • Pay with cashless options when possible.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.

You might also consider takeout.

Places of worship

When visiting a place of worship:

  • Check to see if the size of gatherings is being limited and how that might affect your visit.
  • Seek out services held in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors.
  • Wear a mask and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart from others.
  • Avoid contact with frequently touched items, such as books. Place any donations in a stationary collection box.
  • If food is offered at an event, look for pre-packaged options.

Gyms

When visiting a gym:

  • Find out if the gym requires an online reservation or has a check-in system and use these when possible.
  • Attend during off-peak times.
  • Make sure your gym requires face masks. Wear a face mask and stay 6 feet (2 meters) apart from others.
  • Know the rules regarding the use of bathrooms, locker rooms and showers.
  • Wipe down frequently touched surfaces before and after use.
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after exercising.
  • Limit high-intensity activities when indoors.
  • Avoid giving high-fives or doing elbow bumps with others.

Hair and nail salons

When visiting a hair or nail salon:

  • Book your service in advance, if possible, to avoid the need to wait in a crowded lobby.
  • Check to see if you need to attend your appointment alone.
  • Wear a mask when inside the salon.
  • Pay with cashless options when possible.
  • Wash your hands or use sanitizer before and after your appointment.

Grocery stores

When visiting a grocery store:

  • Try to shop when the store might be less crowded.
  • Wear a mask and stay 6 feet (2 meters) away from other shoppers when shopping or in line.
  • Use disinfecting wipes to clean the handle of your shopping cart or basket.
  • Try to only touch products you plan to buy.
  • If you use reusable shopping bags, clean them before each use.
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after you’re finished shopping.

You might also consider ordering online or using curbside pickup options.

Banks

When visiting a bank:

  • Use the ATM, if possible. Apply hand sanitizer afterward.
  • Wash your hands when possible.

Gas stations

When visiting a gas station:

  • Before pumping gas wipe down any handles or buttons you'll need to touch.
  • After you finish fueling, apply hand sanitizer.
  • Wash your hands when possible.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don't feel confident about a business's safety practices, postpone your visit. Protecting your health is worth it.

May 29, 2021 See more In-depth

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