Staying safe over Memorial Day weekend
The U.S. is about to kick off its first major holiday weekend since the pandemic began — and it’s going to be unlike any other, with most of the traditional activities off limits or significantly restricted.
But the virus doesn’t have to spoil your holiday plans. With some precautions, it’s still possible to honor the fallen and enjoy the warm weather while lowering your risk of infection. Here are some tips to stay safe:
Though many memorial events have been canceled, some are being adapted, like a “virtual flag garden” in Massachusetts and a streamed service for veterans in Minnesota.
The biggest risk of swimming in pools, lakes or the ocean is your exposure to other people, not the water itself — other coronaviruses have proved to be unstable in water and highly sensitive to chlorine. Being able to avoid others, both in and near the water, is the key to safe swimming.
Seeing friends and family
Ideally, you should socialize only with people in your household. But if you decide to gather with others, it’s best to do so outdoors. Keep the group small, and stay at least six feet apart.
The safest picnic is with your family, but if you invite guests, they should bring their own food, drinks, ice and coolers and sit at their own tables. Wear masks for long conversations, and have hand sanitizer available or set up a hand-washing station.
Be prepared for transformed airports. During security screenings, you’ll be asked to scan your own boarding pass and put any food you’ve brought in a separate bin to prevent cross-contamination. And the 3.4-ounce rule has been relaxed for hand sanitizer: You’re allowed to bring up to 12 ounces on board.
What about the beach? Depends where you live
If you plan to hit the beach this weekend, read up on the local rules and go only if you can avoid crowds. (There may even be a webcam that you can check first.) But be warned: Some states, counties and communities are limiting access to locals only.
New Jersey: The second phase of reopening the Jersey Shore begins this weekend. Sunbathing is allowed, but swimming is not expected to be permitted until July.
Florida: Most beaches are open, but many are restricting activities and large gatherings, and some have reduced hours. Beaches in Miami remain closed but are planning to reopen on June 1.
How the virus quieted New York
The corner of Lafayette and East Fourth Streets in Manhattan used to be a busy thoroughfare, with coffee shops, gyms and hurried N.Y.U. students walking between classes. But during the pandemic, the usual sounds of the city have gone quiet. Hear it for yourself here.
Try a new board game. These travel-themed games will transport you to Renaissance Florence, Barcelona, Istanbul and beyond with just the roll of a die.
Host your own summer camp. Ask your kids what they were most looking forward to about camp — then help them grieve their losses and figure out which parts you can recreate.
What you’re doing
My 12-year-old grandson and I are writing a book called “Coronavirus: A Novel.” The idea is to create a keepsake of our experience and to pass it on to his future offspring. The process is pretty much like improv. One of us writes a fictional passage and leaves off midstream. The other continues the story in whatever direction they lead it.
— Barbara Seldin, San Diego
Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.