Dr Daniel Israel is a general practitioner working in Johannesburg. He is a member of GGPC (Gauteng General Practitioners Collaboration) which has created a platform for doctors to share resources during Covid-19. Look for  #voicesthatcare on the GGPC Facebook page.

Enough of being all cooped up! Joburgers feel they need to get out at the moment. Taking my family out for the day recently sparked other families curiosity about how to do this safely.

 

How to plan a safe day trip during COVID-19

 

Isn’t it better just to ‘stay safe and stay home’?

It certainly is. However, what are the benefits vs the risks, and vice versa?   

Think of a long distance runner who purposefully takes short breaks on an ultra-marathon to ensure that (s)he completes it well. Similarly, taking your kids on safe day trips at times will be necessary for their long-term mental and physical well being.

safe day trips

Which  outings are safe when COVID-19 infections are peaking?

Keep in mind that the virus is airborne and can spread rapidly in small spaces or from direct contact.  Therefore:

  • Consider an empty, quiet destination for a family outing. 
  • You must be flexibie enough to change plans spontaneously, should the venue be busy.
  • Consider venues that are open during the week – they will be quieter then.

There are many safe day trips options that reduce the risk of person-to-person droplet spread:

How safe is visiting  indoor centres or shopping malls?

The first rule in social interaction is good ventilation. With the current drastic spike in infections, my advice is:
DO NOT visit indoor recreational places as outings during this time (unless they are completely empty). 

 

What supplies do I need to take with me on a day trip?

  • Sanitiser, sanitiser and sanitiser: Inevitably, day trippers land up needing to access a toilet, make a payment or wipe down a surface.  Just keep sanitising with a sanitiser containing 70% alcohol. 
  • Masks are a must: people pop up in the least expected places. If you see people be sure to  wear a mask over your mouth and nose.
  • Extra clothing: Kids love using jungle gyms: allow this, but insist  that they do not touch their faces and sanitise their hands after use. Take extra caution by changing their clothes if they have come into contact with other children.

Is it safe to go on holiday?

It is illegal to travel for non-work or non-essential service reasons at present. You’ll need a permit to travel. Even if you are able to organise a permit overnight travel poses several serious challenges:
  • It is difficult to ensure the accommodation you are visiting has been sanitised correctly and that there has been no viral spread on its surfaces.
  • If it is serviced, it is a risk allowing cleaners into the accommodation if you are unsure of their previous exposures, even if they wear masks.
  • Furthermore, you may be incubating COVID-19 yourself, and you may be putting the cleaners at risk.
  • Eating out is restricted: not all restaurants are open or only service take-away deliveries.
  • Lastly, if you become symptomatic and unwell whilst away, you will be far from your doctor and your home support network.

In most instances, I strongly discourage any travel for leisure at this stage in the pandemic in South Africa.

Plan safe day trips, get out and have fun! 

Stay home and stay safe, but when you need to get out on occasion explore some safe day trips options. Plan ahead, get out and have fun.
As long as the correct measures are taken to ensure you are in an outdoor area, you should be able to recharge your batteries. i.e:
  • no-one in your 2 metre reach,
  • and you’re wearing masks
  • with sanitiser at your disposal.

This will enable you to stay home and stay safe for longer.

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