The Memorial Day weekend will look very different this year as Ohio, like every other state, deals with the coronavirus pandemic. However, there are still ways to enjoy the holiday.
Just days before this weekend, the Veterans Administration announced that Memorial Day ceremonies would not take place this year due to the risk from large groups gathering. Although Memorial Day parades and ceremonies have been canceled across the state, most cemeteries will remain open for those looking to visit and honor service members. Groups of 10 people or fewer may still gather for private observances at cemeteries as long as social distancing (minimum of six feet) is practiced. Masks are also strongly recommended.
This weekend, restaurants are open with indoor seating. If you are going out, please follow the rules posted at each eating establishment. Remember that restaurants are required to keep six feet spacing, including for seating at bars.
If you are planning a Memorial Day BBQ get-together, it’s tempting to gather round the grill and chat, but adults are advised to wear masks, and keep distance from others.
Practice grill safety:
- Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.
- Never grill indoors—not in the house, camper, tent or any enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including children and pets, stay away from the grill.
- Keep the grill away from the house or anything that could catch fire.
- Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill.
Practice food safety, too. Only take meat and other temperature sensitive food items out of your cooler or fridge for as long as you need them and promptly place unused items back in the cooler. When filling your cooler, package raw food separately – try using re-sealable plastic bags.
If travelling, drivers should also be cautious on the roads. The months between June and August — from Memorial Day to Labor Day — are known as the 100 deadliest days for driving. Typically, deadly crashes involving a teen driver increase by 14% during this period.”
Richland Public Health (richlandhealth.org) has released some tips to keep everyone safe this Memorial Day and throughout the summer:
- Keep your social distance and avoid congregating: Even with family and friends, keep the guest list for your gatherings to the people you live with. If you visit an area with higher foot traffic (like the B&O Bike Trails or shopping areas), maintain 6ft social distance between you and others and don’t forget to wear your mask.
- Consider activities or spaces where social distance comes naturally: Enjoy a hike in the woods, a walk along the trail, or your own backyard. By pre-planning your activities, it will make it easier to maintain a 6ft physical distance.
- Assemble a coronavirus kit for the road: If you plan to leave your home for the day or the weekend, pack a kit to help you practice safe hygiene. Include face masks/coverings for everyone in your family, disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer, and tissues. Don’t forget the sunscreen and hats, too!
- If you or someone in your household feels ill, stay home: Help stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home and avoiding contact with others at any sign of illness. As a reminder, common COVID-19 symptoms include fever, chills, dry cough, difficulty breathing, acute loss of taste or smell, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
- Know where to locate emergency health services if you’re traveling: Locate hospitals and pharmacies near your destination in case you need to access a doctor, first aid kit or medicine.
- Protect your skin: Sunscreen is important for all skin types and should be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours or after contact with water or excessive sweat. Even just five first degree burns can double your risk for melanoma.
- Practice water safety: Never let children swim alone; adults should keep an eye on them at all times.
- Stay hydrated: It’s easy to forget to stay hydrated when having fun but with the change in temperature, it’s even more important. Pack a water bottle for each family member when leaving the house and take frequent breaks in the shade. Experts recommend drinking 8oz every 15-20 minutes when in the heat.
- Watch out for ticks: Avoid tall grass where ticks are. Always do a full body check when coming indoors and check your children as well. Remember to do a tick check when your pets come back from outside. For information on removing ticks, see our information here: https://richlandhealth.org/our-community/ticks/
- Prevent mosquito bites: Remove standing water where mosquitoes can breed. Use EPA-registered mosquito repellent and apply according to label directions. Adults should apply repellent to children. For more about stopping mosquitoes see: https://richlandhealth.org/our-community/mosquitoes/
For additional summer safety tips, see: https://richlandhealth.org/personal/summer-safety/