COVID-19: Avoid Illness

 

To prevent getting and spreading COVID-19, make sure you practice good personal health habits and avoid being exposed to the virus. 

Wear a face covering to stop the spread of COVID-19

Wisconsin has significant community spread, and the science shows that wearing a face covering can prevent the transmission of the respiratory droplets that spread COVID-19. Protect your loved ones, neighbors, and fellow Wisconsinites by wearing a face covering!

When should I wear a face covering?

  • Indoor spaces when you are not at home
  • Enclosed spaces such as outdoor restaurants or bars, public transportation, and ride-shares

When do I not need to wear a face covering?

  • Inside your home around your core family
  • Outdoors

We understand that not everyone can wear a face covering for medical or safety reasons. People who can wear a face covering should do so to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Avoid close contact with others and practice physical distancing

  • Stay at home as much as possible. Cancel events and avoid groups, gatherings, play dates, and nonessential appointments.
  • Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. See the frequently asked questions below for more information about gatherings.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people when possible.
  • Wear a cloth face covering in public settings, especially when it is difficult to practice physical distancing.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

Practice good hand hygiene

  • Hand sanitizer is great to use when soap and water aren't available but frequent and thorough handwashing is the best way to prevent spreading viruses like COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
    • If you must use hand sanitizer, be sure to avoid any products on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) list of hand sanitizers that have been recalled. Some could contain methanol (or wood alcohol), which causes blindness or death.
    • Use hand sanitizer only as directed on hands. Accidentally ingesting even a relatively small amount of methanol may pose a serious poisoning risk for children. Symptoms of methanol poisoning are nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.
    • If you or a child accidently swallows hand sanitizer, call the Wisconsin Poison Center right away. Don’t wait for symptoms to develop. Call the Poison Center at 800-222-1222 anytime day or night.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, and mouth when in public.

Enjoy summer safely

  • Explore the outdoors, but keep it local.
  • When you're enjoying time outside, the safest option is to spend time with the people you live with.
  • If you are gathering with other people, wear a face covering, limit the number to under 10, and practice physical distancing.
  • Avoid sharing food.
  • Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching shared surfaces.

Staying safe while beating the summer heat

COVID-19 has interrupted our usual routines, and will continue to do so throughout the summer months. Places we typically go may not be open or available to get out of the heat and humidity. Here are suggestions for staying safe and keeping cool if your local beach, pool, library, or mall is closed.       

Staying cool inside

The best way to avoid catching the virus is to limit your contact with people, which means staying home as much as possible. Here are some tips for keeping cool indoors.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and don’t wait to get thirsty. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine can also help you stay better hydrated.
  • Keep curtains, shades, or blinds closed to keep out the sun. Heat rises, so if you have a lower level or basement in your home, spend time where it is cooler.
  • Take a cool bath or shower.
  • Do not use the oven. Oven heat can spread throughout your home and cause it to heat up more quickly. Instead, cook in the morning when it is cooler or use a slow-cooker.
  • Close doors of unused rooms. This helps keep the cool air in the part of the house you are using.
  • Place a damp washcloth in the refrigerator or freezer to create a cool pack for your neck or forehead.
  • If possible, use air conditioning. 
    • If you don’t have access to air conditioning, thrift stores and resale shops may have window units or fans available. Some local/tribal health departments also provide window A/C units.
    • Alternately, check to see whether your local library, community center, or an area mall is open.
  • Contact your local/tribal health department to find out whether there is a cooling center nearby. Cooling centers are either public places that offer extended services to assist people in coping with extreme heat or are designated buildings or tents set up for people to get a break from the heat and into air conditioning.
  • Calling 211 may also be an option to learn about resources that may be available in your area. If you are able to go to a cooling center, you may be screened for symptoms of COVID-19 or have your temperature taken. Be prepared to bring your own supplies, such as water, food, books and entertainment, cloth face covering, and hand sanitizer—if you have those resources available to you. Many cooling centers will try to provide food, water, and other supplies to visitors as best they can, but bringing your own supplies ensures reduced risk for spread of disease and allows the cooling centers to provide necessities to the individuals that need them most.
  • Using air conditioning and fans can raise the cost of your electric bill. The Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program (WHEAP) can sometimes help with these costs. For more information about WHEAP and how to apply, call 1-866-432-8947, or visit the “Where to Apply” tab on the Home Energy Plus website to find your local energy assistance agency. For more information on energy assistance resources available by county, please visit the Public Service Commission’s website. Individuals may also contact their utility company to inquire about additional assistance opportunities and/or to set up an alternative payment plan
Going outside during COVID-19

When you head outside on a hot day:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people, as much as possible. 
  • Be sure to stay hydrated. Do not share water bottles, as it could be a way to spread COVID-19. Sweating removes salt and minerals from your body. If you can, replenish these nutrients with low-sugar fruit juices or sports drinks during exercise or when working outside. However, you should still be drinking plenty of water regardless. 
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. A hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent are also recommended. Don’t forget to put the sunscreen on first and then apply the insect repellent.
  • Pace yourself—reduce physical activity and avoid exercising outdoors during peak hours.
  • When it is difficult to remain 6 feet away from others, wear a face covering that is easy to breathe in. Remove the face covering immediately if you have trouble breathing. Go somewhere secluded to take a break from wearing the face mask and enjoy some deep breaths without it. (See the section below, “Best Practices for Everyone,” for more information on wearing cloth face coverings.)
  • Limit your time in the sun. Reduce your level of activity, and avoid being active during the hottest part of the day. 
  • Take breaks in the shade, in a building, or an open, uncrowded business in your community with air conditioning.
Taking care of ourselves and each other
  • Know the signs of heat illness. If you or someone you’re with starts to feel overheated, weak, dizzy, nauseated, or has muscle cramps, it could be heat illness. If the symptoms don’t improve, seek medical attention or call 911.
  • Check in on neighbors, friends, and loved ones, especially those without access to air conditioning. Call to make sure the people you care about are okay.
    • Older adults, infants and young children, and people who are pregnant, do not have access to safe or stable housing, or those who have pre-existing health conditions can be particularly susceptible to the heat.
    • The risk for heat-related illness and death may also be higher for people using the following drugs: psychotropics (for example, haloperidol or chlorpromazine); tranquilizers (for example, phenothiazine, butyrophenone, or thiozanthene); medications for Parkinson’s disease, which can inhibit perspiration; and diuretic medications or “water pills” that affect fluid balance in the body.
  • Cars heat up fast. On an 80-degree day, the temperature in a car can reach 100 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Never leave a person or pet in a parked car.
Best practices for everyone
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people as much as possible. 
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and running water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Immediately throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Wear a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose in public settings, especially where it is difficult to stay 6 feet away from others. If you have COVID-19 but don’t know it, covering your nose and mouth helps protect others. Cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unable to remove the covering without assistance. A cloth face cover is not a substitute for physical distancing or other preventive measures.
Resources

Safely sheltering from severe weather during COVID-19

Safely sheltering from a severe weather event should be your top priority, even as COVID-19 is still spreading in our Wisconsin communities. The following recommendations focus on protecting yourself from COVID-19 while seeking short-term shelter for a couple hours due to severe weather, such as a tornado. The CDC also has recommendations for preparing for longer stays in a congregate shelter setting.

While taking shelter from severe weather, incorporate physical distancing when possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The shelter is used when you are unable to safely shelter in your personal home. Below are additional recommendations to consider during the pandemic when using a short-term shelter:

Preparation
  • If possible, check that the shelter is open before a severe weather event occurs. Some shelters may be closed during the pandemic, which will require you to adjust accordingly. 
  • When preparing an emergency kit, consider:
    • Prescription medicine filled by mail-order delivery or curbside pickup. If these options are available, consider using it to limit your in-person visits to the pharmacy. 
    • Hand sanitizer and two cloth face coverings for each person.
      Note: Face covers should not be used by children under the age of 2, people having trouble breathing, or who are unconscious, incapacitated, or unable to remove the mask without assistance. 
  • Place the kit in an easily accessible location that can be quickly grabbed to take with you.
Going to and while at the shelter
  • Make sure your emergency kit includes hand sanitizer and cloth face coverings. If it isn’t easily accessible, do not let it delay seeking shelter. The priority is to seek shelter immediately.
  • Once inside the shelter, put on a cloth face covering. 
  • Practice physical distancing, if space exists. If the space exists, then stay at least 6 feet (about two-arms’ length) from people who don’t live with you.
  • Follow CDC COVID-19 preventive actions. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, cover coughs and sneezes, and avoid sharing food and drink or other items with those who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid contact with high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops, as possible. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol after you touch these surfaces.
Sheltering away from home

In some instances, a severe weather emergency may happen with little to no warning while you are away from home, requiring you to shelter and seek safety at your current location.

  • Before going out to a store or restaurant, check the weather forecast. If severe weather is anticipated, consider staying home or ordering take-out or delivery instead.
  • Take a cloth face covering and hand sanitizer with you to keep yourself and others safe from the spread of COVID-19. 
  • Follow the recommendations above for "Going to and while at the shelter."
Recommendations for operators of a short-term shelter
  • It is important for shelters that can maintain a safe environment to remain open during this time to provide protection from severe weather.
  • Store a supply of hand sanitizer and cloth face coverings for people in the shelter.
  • Provide a designated area to put on cloth face coverings after entry into shelter, if possible. This area should not block or hinder people’s entrance into the shelter.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as handrails, doorknobs, and countertops. Limit the use of shared items as much as possible, and clean and disinfect any remaining shared items between uses.
Resources

If you start to feel sick

Frequently asked questions about staying safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic

General Questions

Can I hold or should I go to a large gathering?

Interim guidance on large gatherings: At this time, DHS does not advise large gatherings, and there is no projected timeframe available as to when this advisory would change. Event planners should work closely with local/tribal health departments and local/tribal law enforcement on any future plans and decisions.

Public health experts agree that large gatherings of people in sustained, close contact greatly increases the risk for spread of the virus among those who attend the events and to the communities these individuals return to after the event. The communal nature of such events makes it especially challenging to accommodate the physical distancing and sanitation recommendations required to slow the spread of disease. This includes but is not limited to fairs, festivals, parades, and conferences.

Given the state of COVID-19 transmission in Wisconsin, DHS recommends you not engage in public or private gatherings of people that are not part of a single household or living unit. This recommendation will change as the state progresses through the different phases of Wisconsin’s roadmap outlining public health principles to decrease COVID-19 cases and death.

DHS provides criteria that the state will use to  guide communities as people begin to interact. For example, to move out of the initial gating criteria and into Phase 1, the plan identifies that a sustained downward trajectory of individuals with symptoms, a sustained downward trajectory of positive cases as a percent of total tests, and a robust health system capacity should all be present. As the state progresses through each phase, the recommended maximum size of gatherings also increases. An example is an event with 250 or more people in attendance should only be held once the state has entered Phase 3 of reopening. 

In terms of planning events for this summer or fall, the best guidance is to proceed with caution. Work with your local/tribal health department and consider all possible options given the potential for large group gathering cancellations due to COVID-19. Wherever possible, DHS urges event organizers to host virtual or other non-contact events that can build the same sense of community and celebration. 

Resource:
CDC Information for Event Planners and Individuals

How is COVID-19 spread?

COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that are released when a sick (infected) person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. These droplets can remain in the air and on surfaces for an extended period of time. When people breathe in (inhale) the droplets, or touch surfaces that have been contaminated and then touch their mouth, face, or eyes, the virus can make them sick.

How long does COVID-19 survive on surfaces?

It is not certain how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but emerging evidence suggest that the virus may survive on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days depending on various factors, such as the type of surface, humidity of the environment, exposure to heat, cold, sunlight, and ventilation.

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer.

Surface Amount of Time Examples
Metal (other than those listed below) 5 days Doorknobs, jewelry, silverware
Ceramics 5 days Dishes, pottery, mugs
Glass 4-5 days Drinking glasses, measuring cups, mirrors, windows
Wood 4 days Furniture, decking
Plastics 2-3 days Packaging like milk containers and detergent bottles, subway and bus seats, backpacks, elevator buttons
Stainless steel 2-3 days Refrigerators, pots and pans, sinks, some water bottles
Cardboard 24 hours Shipping boxes
Disposable gown 1-2 days  
Aluminum 2-8 hours Soda cans, tinfoil, water bottles
Copper 4 hours Teakettles, cookware
Paper Varies Some strains of coronavirus live for only a few minutes on paper, others live for up to 5 days.


For more information on how long COVID-19 lasts on surfaces and aerosol, see this article from the New England Journal of Medicine from March 17, 2020, and this article from the Journal of Hospital Infection from February 6, 2020.

Do I need to sanitize my groceries?

COVID-19 Shopping tips, watch what you touch, wash your hands, sharing is caring, personal hygiene, social distancing, limit non-essentials p02620dAccording to the CDC, COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person. The risk of transmission from food and packaging is considered to be low. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. The greatest grocery-related risk is contact with others and with high-touch surfaces like shopping carts and basket handles.

In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.

Therefore, remember to practice appropriate social distancing while in the grocery store, avoid touching your face while shopping, and wash your hands thoroughly when you return home from the store.

COVID-19: Shopping Tips poster shown on this page is available in multiple languages.

Do I need to disinfect my fresh produce?

COVID-19 is unlikely to be passed on through fresh produce. Even if the virus did survive on your fresh produce, it is likely to end up in the stomach where the low pH environment will inactivate and kill the virus.

Do not wash fresh produce in soap or detergent. Soap is not designed for use on food and any residue on fresh produce can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested. The FDA recommends washing fresh fruits and vegetables in cold water. Wash your hands with soap or use a sanitizer after handling your groceries and fresh produce.

Is take-out and food delivery safe?

COVID-19 is unlikely to be passed on through prepared meals ordered for take-out or delivery. Since COVID-19 is spread mainly through person-to-person contact, the best precaution to take is to avoid direct contact with service workers. If you are still concerned, here are some other practical steps you can take to stay safe when ordering take-out or food delivery:

  • Practice appropriate social distancing with restaurant personnel or other customers when getting take-out at the restaurant.
  • Use touch-free payment systems, including touch-free tipping.
  • Place delivery bags and containers in the sink rather than on the table or countertop.
  • Transfer food from takeout containers to a plate.
  • Discard all delivery bags, boxes, and takeout containers in the trash or recycling.
  • Wash your hands before eating.
  • Leftovers should be put in your own food storage containers rather than in takeout containers.
  • Clean and sanitize the sink after your meal.

Is it safe to use a public restroom?

There is so much yet to learn about the virus that causes COVID-19 that it is reasonable to wonder, “Is it safe to use a public bathroom?” Below is information to keep yourself and your community safe if you leave your home and decide to use a public restroom. Information for facility managers in charge of maintaining public restrooms can be found on our Community and Faith-Based webpage.

Given the state of COVID-19 transmission in Wisconsin, DHS recommends you not engage in public or private gatherings with people who are not part of your household or living unit. You are at lowest risk if you stay home. 

Best Practices When Away from Home

The following practices can help limit the spread of COVID-19 no matter where you are, including public restrooms. When you are in public:

  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people, as much as possible. 
  • Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. When soap and running water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow. Immediately throw used tissues in the trash and wash your hands. 
  • Wear a cloth face covering over your mouth and nose in public settings, especially when it is difficult to stay 6 feet away from others. If you have the virus but don’t know it, covering your nose and mouth helps to protect others. 
    • Masks or cloth face coverings should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or anyone who is unable to remove the covering without assistance. Please be aware that some people may choose to wear or not wear a cloth face covering due to medical concerns or out of fear of racial profiling or discrimination. 
    • Even with a cloth face covering, continue to practice physical distancing and other preventive measures. 

Additional Safety Precautions for Public Restrooms

COVID-19 mainly spreads through people being close to one another. Public restrooms raise concerns because a lot of people are together in what are oftentimes small, enclosed spaces with poor ventilation. Bathrooms are also high traffic areas—meaning a lot of different people pass through—with a lot of high-touch surfaces where the virus might live, such as doorknobs, toilet handles and seats, faucets, and paper towel dispensers. Additionally, it is possible that air hand dryers can spread germs to contaminate surfaces.

It is important whenever you’re in public to remain at least 6 feet away from people who are not part of your household unit. The same is true in public bathrooms. 

  • Don’t crowd into a restroom.
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Limit the use of smaller restrooms to one person (and a parent or attendant, if needed) or household unit at a time.
  • If there are too many people, form a line outside the restroom door and stay 6 feet from one another—or 6 feet between different households. People from the same household or living unit can be closer to one another.

Additional precautions include:

  • Wear a cloth face covering, if you are able. 
  • Have hand sanitizer with you in case the facilities are not supplied with soap and water.
  • Use hand sanitizer before entering the restroom. 
  • Use a clean paper towel or tissue each time you have to touch a surface, including door handles, locks, toilet seats and lids, and faucets.
  • If there is one, close the toilet lid before flushing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds after using the restroom. Use hand sanitizer if soap is not available.
  • If they are available, use paper towels to dry your hands instead of air dryers. Hand dryers may spread the virus around an enclosed space.
  • Leave the restroom when you are done. If possible, wait for friends or family outside the restroom door.

How often should I wash my clothes?

Unless someone in your household has tested positive for COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms, you can wash your clothes as you normally do.

If someone in your household has confirmed or suspected COVID-19, the CDC says extra precautions must be taken when washing clothes, bed linens, or towels they came in contact with.

Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.

  • If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
  • If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing the virus through the air.
  • Launder items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.

Should I wear a cloth face cover?

This guidance, based on considerations from the CDC, should help answer some common questions that you may have regarding if, and when, you should wear a cloth face cover. Please note, cloth face covers are not a substitute for physical distancing and handwashing.

Guidance:

Our best defense against COVID-19 is washing our hands frequently; avoiding touching our eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding being around sick people; and physical distancing, especially by staying home when possible, and wearing a cloth face covering. Cloth face coverings help prevent people who have COVID-19 from spreading the virus to others, which means they are most likely to reduce spread when they are widely used. They are not a replacement for physical distancing and are most effective when combined with other preventive measures. A strong health care delivery system and emergency response system is also an essential core defense to save lives when people do get ill.

What is a cloth face cover? A cloth face cover is material that covers the nose and mouth while being secured to the head or ears with ties, straps, or simply wrapped around the lower face. These coverings can be made by a variety of materials.

When should I wear a cloth face cover?

You should wear a cloth face covering in public settings and whenever you are around people you don't live with, especially when it is difficult to practice physical distancing. A cloth face covering should only be worn if the person wearing it can safely remove it. While cloth face coverings are strongly recommended, there are valid reasons that individuals cannot wear one, such as medical considerations or fear of racism or discrimination.

How effective are cloth face coverings at preventing the spread of the virus?

Cloth face coverings are recommended because they form a barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people. Droplets can release when someone coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice, which is why consistently wearing the face covering is important. This is called source control and is based on what we know about the role respiratory droplets play in the spread of COVID-19, paired with evidence from clinical and laboratory studies that show cloth face coverings reduce the spray of droplets when worn over the nose and mouth. Because COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet), the use of cloth face coverings is especially important in settings where people are close to each other or where practicing physical distancing is difficult.

How should I wear a cloth face covering?

To wear a cloth face covering, keep these things in mind:

  • Before putting on a cloth face covering, clean your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin, making sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching your face covering while wearing it.
  • Make sure you can breathe easily.

Keep in mind that a cloth face covering does not provide full protection. Therefore, remember to continue to do the following:

  • Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Continue staying at least 6 feet away from other people.
  • Continue following the recommendations for social distancing: avoid crowds, stay at home as much as possible, and just leave for essential tasks (e.g., work, grocery shopping, going to the doctor, getting medications).

How should I clean my cloth face covering? It’s a good idea to wash your cloth face covering frequently, ideally after each use, or at least daily. Use regular laundry detergent and a warm or hot water setting. Dry on high heat or lay flat and allow to air dry in sunlight if possible. Do not wear when damp.

How can I get a cloth face covering? If you need a cloth face covering but do not have access to one, you may be able to make your own by sewing one. There is no standard design for homemade cloth face coverings, but there are many patterns and instructions online from hospitals and other organizations.

If making your own cloth face covering, keep the following in mind:

  1. Build a cloth face covering that tightly encloses the area around the nose and mouth, from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and extending onto the cheek beyond the corners of the mouth, so no gaps occur when talking or moving.
  2. Use material that is tightly woven but breathable. Possibly double-layer the fabric.
    • Cloth face coverings must be made from washable fabric.
    • Choose a fabric that can handle high temperatures and bleach without shrinking or otherwise deforming.
  3. The cloth face covering should be tolerant of expected amounts of moisture from breathing.
  4. Suggested materials: Outer layer tea cloth, inner layer of a microfleece to wick away moisture, and an inner tea cloth layer. Use an accordion fold to mimic a hospital mask as much as possible and use a fat woven shoelace type material to bind the sides (such as quilt binding). For straps, use elastic straps that loop behind the ears.

Online instructions and patterns:

For additional information, see the CDC's Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings.

Questions for Summer

Is it safe to have a barbecue?

Have a barbecue or cookout with the people you live with. If you do decide to have a barbecue, limit the gathering to less than 10 people, keep 6 feet apart, wear a facial covering when possible, and wash your hands before and after using shared surfaces.

What about potlucks?

Even if the potluck is outside, this is a high-risk activity because sharing commonly touched surfaces with other people makes it easier to spread the virus. Suggest everyone brings their own dishes for themselves or order a separate dish for each person from a local restaurant.

As state parks open for the summer season, is it safe to socialize with friends outside?

Limit the number of people in your social circle and remember to practice physical distancing and wear a cloth face covering if possible.

Can I go camping?

Camping in your backyard is the lowest risk option. If you do go camping, stay in your local community, share a tent only with people you live with, keep 6 feet of physical distance from others, and wash your hands frequently. Make sure to wipe down shared surfaces and bring your own supplies.

Is it safe to swim at lakes or in pools?

We are asking public pools, splash pads, and water parks to close. If you do go swimming, keep a 6-foot distance from others. Try to avoid beaches or pools that are too crowded in order to keep a safe distance from others.

If I am riding my bike or running and the path is crowded, what should I do?

If you are on a path and cannot keep a 6 foot distance, the safest thing to do is to step off the path, put on a cloth face covering if you are not already wearing one, and let others pass..

Are play dates safe for children?

Until we reach a very low spread rate in the community, and we are able to test widely and investigate every case, play dates are not advised.

What about summer sports or summer camp?

You are at lowest risk of spreading the virus if you stay home. If you or your children do participate in sports or summer camp, keep a 6-foot distance from others, wash or sanitize your hands frequently, and do not share objects including balls or gear.

Can I take a summer vacation in Wisconsin or outside the state?

Traveling always has a risk, so the safest option is to plan local trips that are outdoors or in areas with ample space. If you do decide to travel, avoid crowded spaces, wash your hands frequently, wear a cloth face covering if possible, and bring your own food or supplies. Avoiding contact with others and keeping safe distance reduces your risk of contracting COVID-19. For more information, check out our travel webpage for tips on stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Can I host a yard sale?

It is safest to avoid in-person yard, garage, and rummage sales. You can still sell or buy items virtually. 

Can I go to a large gathering like festivals?

We recommend that large gatherings, such as festivals, be canceled or postponed. Attending a large gathering like a festival increases the risk of spreading COVID-19. If it is possible, we recommend attending events virtually to build the same sense of community and celebration.

Can I go to or host parties for birthdays, graduations, or anniversaries?

We recommend avoiding large gatherings with people you do not live with. You can host virtual parties or visit our webpage for other ways to celebrate with graduates and other special life moments.

Last Revised: August 7, 2020

 RESPONSE RESOURCES FOR WISCONSINITES — www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/covid-19/help.htm