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A doctor's tips to enjoying the fall season during the pandemic

Here are some suggestions on how to make the most of fall without putting yourself or others at risk.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It's fall and that means it's time to put on your favorite sweater, grab that pumpkin spice latte, and enjoy the season. However, we're still in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, so that means we need to evaluate the possible risks associated with some of our favorite fall activities.

Dr. Monalisa Tailor with Norton Healthcare provided some suggestions on how to enjoy the fun of the season without putting you or your loved ones at risk. While Dr. Tailor’s list doesn’t encompass everything you could do, it will give you an idea of what kinds of activities you may be more comfortable with this year.

Examples of low-risk activities

  • Hayrides
  • Visiting a pumpkin patch
  • Hiking
  • Bonfires with friends (no more than 10 people)

While outdoor activities are relatively safe, Dr. Tailor said the most important thing is to avoid large crowds as much as possible. If you find yourself in a crowd, make sure you have your mask on and, if you’re really uncomfortable, it may be a good idea to leave.

“If there’s a big crowd of people, let’s not go there, because big crowds are what the coronavirus likes,” she said.

Examples of higher-risk activities

  • Baking with friends
  • Hanging out inside a coffee shop
  • Haunted houses

What makes these activities a little more risky is that they are done indoors, and in close proximity with other people. Dr. Tailor isn't saying you can't do these things at all, but she does advise you to be careful.

“I would be taking as many precautions as I can,” she said. While you can enjoy your coffee outdoors or bake cookies over Zoom, Dr. Tailor was hesitant about going to a conventional haunted house in a COVID-19 world.

"Haunted houses in the traditional sense may be something off the table,” she said. If you’re determined to get your fear fix, Dr. Tailor said a drive-thru option would be the best choice.

The big question on everyone’s minds is likely this: What will Halloween night look like? Some communities across the country are already choosing to skip trick-or-treating this year, but Dr. Tailor said there are ways to make it work.

If you’re dressing up your child, Dr. Tailor suggests you make their mask part of the costume – that way it’ll feel more like fun and less like a rule. If you’re handing out candy, try to avoid one big bucket that a bunch of (questionably clean) hands could dig into. Dr. Tailor said you can spread it out on a table – that way kids can pick up their favorite treats without touching everyone else’s.

Dr. Tailor also reiterated the importance of avoiding large groups as you trick-or-treat.

“Distance is going to be important. Crowds are going to be important,” she said.

The last thing that's important to remember is while activities have varying levels of risk, so do people.

Even though you might be comfortable doing something, remember that some people - particularly those who may be older or have certain health conditions – may feel differently.

    

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