Deciding to Go Out

Published June 15, 2020 by the Centers for Disease Control

What you need to know

  • In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
  • If you decide to engage in public activities, continue to protect yourself by practicing everyday preventative actions.
  • Keep these items on hand when venturing out: a cloth fact covering, tissues, and a hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol, if possible.

On this page

As communities and businesses are opening, you may be looking for ways to resume some daily activities as safely as possible. While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, it is important to understand potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a reminder, if you have COVID-19, have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is important to stay home and away from other people. When you can leave home and be around others depends on different factors for different situations. Follow CDC’s recommendations for your circumstances.

In general, the more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. So, think about:

  • How many people will you interact with?
    • Interacting with more people raises your risk.
    • Being in a group with people who aren’t social distancing or wearing cloth face coverings increases your risk.
    • Engaging with new people (e.g., those who don’t live with you) also raises your risk.
    • Some people have the virus and don’t have any symptoms, and it is not yet known how often people without symptoms can transmit the virus to others.
  • Can you keep 6 feet of space between you and others? Will you be outdoors or indoors?
    • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
    • Keeping distance from other people is especially important for people who are at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with underlying medical conditions.
    • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation.
  • What’s the length of time that you will be interacting with people?
    • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
    • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.

What to consider before you go

Asking these questions can help determine your level of risk: