How to stay safe on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is Monday, May 25, a time to honor men and women who died in active military service. It’s also the unofficial start of summer. This year, however, the holiday will take on a different look due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Regardless of how you celebrate, the overall recommendations remain the same: Cover your mouth and nose with a face cover when around others; wash your hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and keep at least 6 feet distance between yourself and others.

Here are other tips on staying safe:

AT HOME

Consider a front yard cookout for you and members of your household. You can still connect with neighbors and enjoy a day of grilling while observing social distancing guidelines.

“Share” your Memorial Day meal on social media. Even if you don’t have a grill or backyard, post a photo or video of your food on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or all three.

Schedule a virtual friends or family cookout. You can all enjoy each other’s company while video chatting or on the phone.

Think twice before visiting someone else’s home or inviting guests other than your immediate family you have been quarantined with. Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus and the CDC continues to discourage group gatherings of 10 or more.

In general, do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, straws or eating utensils with others. Non-disposable food service items used should be handled with gloves and washed with dish soap and hot water or in a dishwasher.

AT THE PARK OR BEACH

Keep your time away from home as short as possible and only visit parks or beaches that are close to you. According to the CDC, most extended travel requires you to be in close contact with others who may potentially have the virus or increases the chances of touching surfaces contaminated with the virus.

Check the rules before you go. Some park or beach facilities have regulations or closures due to the virus.

Take sanitizer or disinfectant wipes with you.

Do not use bare hands to touch facility doorknobs, stall locks, toilet handles or faucets. Use a wipe, paper towel or tissue to touch surfaces and then throw it away.

Do not use playgrounds. The virus can spread when children touch contaminated equipment and then touch their hands to their eyes, nose or mouth.

Do not participate in organized activities or sports such as basketball, baseball, soccer or football. They typically require participants who are not from the same household or living unit to be in close proximity, which increases the potential for exposure to COVID-19.

Here’s what some Houston-area residents are saying about the holiday:

“Memorial Day will be spent at a park with my brother’s family or at home.” (Moses J. Spencer)

“Not at a park! In my own home with my own husband eating my own food!! Thanking God 4 just being here!” (Sistermama Sonya)

“Working with my masks and gloves on.” (Kanye Monroe)

“Celebrating all those brothers and sisters past and present who have perished in our fight against racism and discrimination. Prayers for our many victims of COVID-19.” (Loretta Hubbard Green)

“Same as every year. Poolside with immediate family including my sibling and his family. We have been together weekly since COVID-19 and decided the only way to make it is together.” (Demethra Orion)

“It’s a first but the Dunn family will be celebrating the 67th family reunion virtually. There will be a program, singers, dancers etc., and each family will be in their home. We’ll dress for banquet, church and wear family T-shirt on day of park ‘attendance.’ All while never leaving your home. Can’t wait. Sounds exciting.” (Shirley Garnett)

“[Spending] Memorial Day weekend with my immediate family and grands celebrating my youngest son’s graduation from college! With a seafood boil!” (Ingrid Traylor Williams)

“Home with family, hopefully COVID-free, grateful for our health and each other, knowing that one day this will be over and we can share physical space with extended family and friends.” (Adrianne Walker)

“Calling, texting and sending long-distance prayers and hugs.” (Juanita Braceful)

For more info visit www.houstontx.gov/parks or www.galveston.com