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Weighing the risks of going out

Posted at 7:43 AM, May 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-27 08:18:56-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As we move along and more places are opening up, more questions are also being asked.

Can I have a cookout or can I go boating?

COVID-19 is still here, but the transmission has decreased because people are wearing masks and social distancing.

Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein suggests before you do or see anyone, think about the risk of transmitting the disease.

High-risk activities

  • Any indoor gatherings
  • Being in large groups

Moderate risks

  • Backyard cookout with a few neighbors (ten or fewer)

When thinking about having barbecues, Dr. Burstein says to think about people going in and out of your home and using the bathroom.

It may be a good idea to have plated meals, so people are not sharing utensils or coughing/sneezing on food.

Low risks

  • Boating
  • Going to a beach or park

"There are things you can do within each activity to decrease risk," Dr. Burstein said. "Smaller numbers, wearing masks, staying away from other people being outdoors those are all things you can do to decrease COVID-19 transmission."

What happens in the gray areas, should families allow babysitters or other people into their homes?

"That's a tricky question, so there are things you want to know about the babysitter," Dr. Burstein said.

Dr. Burstein said to ask any person if they are healthy and if they have been social distancing. It may not be a great idea to allow elderly people in your home as well.

Is it safe to visit elderly family members?

"They can sit on a porch, and you in the driveway six-feet apart is a way to do it," Dr. Burstein said.

Dr. Burstein says the department is getting a lot of questions about high school graduations and religious services and what to do.

"Right now we are recommending if you're going to get together keep it in very very small groups," Dr. Burstein said. "Keep it outdoors, wear a mask, whenever possible, and wash your hands. And if someone is sick in the group exclude them."

The bottom line here, know your risk, be smart, and take personal responsibility to keep the number of transmissions down.