South Africans are enjoying the freedom that comes with the current reduced lockdown restrictions. Many are looking forward to socializing and visiting their favorite leisure ‘hangouts’, hosting family gatherings or making their way home from the big cities and metros to spend the Festive Season holiday with family and friends.
“With the hospitality and retail industries expected to experience an increase in visitor numbers and focused on recovery, it will be the responsibility of individuals to keep the health and safety of their family and friends top of mind this holiday season,” says Emma Corder, Managing Director of industrial cleaning products manufacturer Industroclean.
Whether spending time at home, visiting family or going on holiday there are certain basic practices that everyone should continue to be adhere to if we wish to continue enjoying our regained freedom.
South Africans travelling to other parts of the country and the expected increase in social gatherings at this time of year continues to pose a threat to the management of the pandemic.
Those who will be making use of public transport or long-distance travel should bear in mind that the actual commute is not the only risk of infection. Public transport hubs and pick up points see hundreds of commuters congregating at a central point, sometimes queuing for hours.
Passengers should practice social distancing at these busy hubs, ensure that they sanitize their hands before and after boarding and avoid touching handrails and vehicle doors.
Anyone using private transport to reach their holiday destination or taking long road trips should keep the following in mind, limit bathroom and food stops and keep them as brief as possible. The increased foot traffic at malls, restaurants and beaches puts a demand on public toilet facilities and a challenge as far as cleaning routines are concerned.
“Where possible, wipe down surfaces you may touch such as toilet seats, toilet flush plates taps and door handles,” Corder adds.
Having your own hand sanitiser is always advised. Before leaving for our trip, pack a family ‘sanitising pack’ containing wet wipes, sanitiser and tissues. Whether using private or public transport, keep windows open to ensure good ventilation and respiratory hygiene.
For those making use of air travel to reach their destination, airports and airlines have stringent measures in place, making air travel pretty safe. While queuing and boarding is strictly regulated by airlines, passengers should try getting on and off as swiftly as possible and avoid lingering in confined spaces with crowds of other passengers.
Modern passenger aircraft are fitted with the same quality of air filtration system used in hospitals and are in theory safer than other crowded spaces. The risk of infection is however still present as passengers could potentially inhale each other’s droplets before they are carried away from the cabin by the ventilation system.
Passengers need to have a mindset of collective responsibility and be vigilant about wearing their masks, hand washing and seat-wiping.
Avoid crowded restaurants when eating out and if attending family gatherings, consider other guest’s exposure during travel and that you are not familiar to their behavior before the gathering, i.e. do they regularly adhere to social distancing and good hygiene practices.
“If we all exercise critical responsibility and mindfulness while we take a break, we can get to spend time with family and friends and visiting our favorite holiday destinations while keeping our loved ones safe,” Corder concludes.