This spring, as coronavirus spread for the first time in the United States, we rapidly adjusted to a new way of life, one where most of us pretty much stay inside as much as possible. Initially, it seemed like the whole “pandemic” might only last a few weeks (how young and naive we were back then), but here we are, with July about to slip into August, and not much has changed. While staying at home for a month or two seemed doable for most people, we’re in month five, and some people just have to go places.
Traveling is still risky right now, especially if you’re going to or from a place with a large number of cases. Before you plan any travel, make sure you’re considering the latest CDC recommendations and guidelines. But if you are going somewhere, you should be taking all the precautions you can, including quarantining after you get back. Depending on where you live, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days after returning, but even if it’s not mandatory, it’s the responsible thing to do. And though staying at home doesn’t sound so crazy at this point, there’s actually a lot to think about when you’re literally not allowed to leave the house for 14 days. Here are some tips and things to consider if you’re going to be stuck in quarantine this summer.
Know The Guidelines
If you’re going to follow the rules, you need to fully know what those rules are. Obviously, different states/countries/etc. have different guidelines and requirements right now, but before you travel, figure out what the rules are in your area. For example, the Tri-State Area (NY, NJ, CT) has a travel advisory list that currently contains 31 states, 10 of which were just added this week. If you’re coming to the Tri-State from any of these places, you’re required to quarantine for 14 days.
New York’s travel advisory has been expanded to 31 states.
If you’re traveling to NY from the following states you must self-quarantine for 14 days:
AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IN, KS, LA, MD, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NM, NV, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) July 21, 2020
The rules for those quarantining in the Tri-State are clear: “The individual must not be in public or otherwise leave the quarters.” There are certain exceptions for essential workers or important medical appointments, but basically, you can’t leave the house for two weeks. In addition, travelers are required to complete a Traveler Health Form. If you’re flying, you’ll be given the form at the airport, but otherwise, you need to complete it online. Those who don’t complete the form could face a $2,000 fine.
Those are just the rules for the Tri-State Area, but considering the recent explosion of coronavirus cases, they’re not bad rules for anyone to follow. But of course, check for guidelines specific to your area as well.
Before you leave for your trip, try to think through as many things as possible that you’re going to need once you get back. Stock up on whatever toiletries are running low, and make a grocery run for the non-perishable items that can chill in your pantry while you’re gone. If you don’t have laundry in your home, do it beforehand, and leave yourself as many clean clothes (and masks) as possible. If you live with a roommate or someone who’s not quarantining, make sure you have adequate cleaning supplies to avoid contamination in shared spaces. And depending how long you’re going to be traveling prior to your quarantine, you may want to look into longer-term things like having your mail held at the Post Office so you don’t come home to a mailbox that’s overflowing with junk mail.
You can also plan ahead for how you’re going to entertain yourself during your time indoors. If the answer is just “Netflix“, that’s fine, but if you love reading, buy yourself a couple new books to have waiting when you get home. Or if you have some DIY projects around the house you’ve been procrastinating, buy all the supplies so they’ll be there when you get back. Or, again, just spend two weeks watching Netflix, I’m not judging.
Get Back On The (Fitness) Apps
“Should I workout or drink?” I say to my dog as I pour a glass of wine
— Ashley Fern (@disco_infern0) May 13, 2020
Remember back in March, when you tried like half a dozen virtual workout apps in the first week of staying home? Wow, I miss being motivated. But aside from all the logistics of not being able to run errands, the hardest part of quarantining is that you’re literally not allowed to go outside. For two weeks. If you live in a less densely populated area without strict quarantine guidelines, you may be able to go for a socially distant run or walk, but that’s not an option according to the Tri-State rules.
With this level of confinement, you’re probably going to want to fire back up those fitness apps. There are more free online workout options than ever, so even if you don’t feel like committing to anything, you can burn a few calories and get your heart rate up. Realistically, you’re gonna be taking like 100 steps a day during quarantine if you don’t do some kind of workout, so it’s probably for the best.
Let’s be real—quarantining alone for 14 days isn’t fun. But in most states, COVID-19 is getting worse, not better, so we need these rules now more than ever. It sucks, but if we actually follow them now, maybe we’ll get to have fun again in 2021. Please, we can’t do another year of this sh*t.
Images: Thought Catalog / Unsplash; NYGovCuomo, disco_infern0 / Twitter