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OPINION

Health and Wellness: Fall gatherings

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Public Health

If your church or circle of friends is puzzling over how to maintain Fall traditions during the COVID pandemic, please consider the following.

Outdoor gatherings are best, and fortunately, Fall weather is typically enjoyable. If it happens to rain, a garage with the door open, or an open-sided tent are good alternatives. Provide ample space for everyone to spread out. Commonly used rectangular folding tables will not work well, since people sitting across the table from one another are only separated by half the recommended distance.

Handwashing at an outdoor event could be a challenge, but don’t just skip it.  Instead, set out hand sanitizer in several locations.  Offering disposable face masks is considerate. Throughout the event, wipe down any surfaces touched by numerous people.

Event attendees have obligations, too. It’s wise to stay with your cohort group – people in your household. When interacting with others, keep your distance and wear a face covering.

Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are popular at this time of the year, and may offer activities. Again, being outdoors is an advantage, but use the cautions outlined above.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. Stay in your bubble.