Sick of Staying Home? Tips for Safely Venturing Out Into the World

Here are some things you can do outside during quarantine — and some advice on how to stay safe while doing them.

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Maryam Alwan

Maryam Alwan, a high school senior in Virginia, attends a Black Lives Matter protest. “To be honest, there weren’t many safety measures besides masks. I have to quarantine myself now,” she said.

After staying home for several months due to quarantine to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus pandemic, many of us are itching to go outside. In the suburbs, it is easy to go for a nice, mask-free walk or do a birthday drive-by for a friend. However, social distancing in New York City is a very different experience.

Most Bronx Science students can not safely step outside of their homes without wearing a mask, and many do not have an outdoor area of their own (e.g. balcony, backyard, or terrace). The population density and small size of properties in the city can make quarantine a lot harder. If you’re anxious to get away, here are some things you can do outdoors and tips on how to stay safe while doing them: 

Protests

While our lives have completely changed since the start of this pandemic, one thing that sadly hasn’t changed is the prevalence of racism in the United States. If you’re interested in learning more, you can read Pinkey Lam’s article entitled “Justice for George Floyd.” 

What I can do to help is to tell you how you can stay safe if you plan on attending a protest during quarantine. Make sure to bring a charged phone, a mask and gloves, protective running shoes, loose clothing that covers your skin, water, and shatter-proof eye protection such as goggles to keep your eyes safe from tear gas (just in case). It is also recommended to go in groups or with a friend. Finally, many protest attendees will be quarantining for two weeks after protesting since they will be in close contact with others.

While these tips are helpful, if you’re planning on protesting, please remember that we are still in a pandemic and we need to keep each other safe. 

Socially distant meet-ups

As the pandemic begins to ease off, more and more people are resuming their social lives. Mayor De Blasio is allowing gatherings of up to 10 people, but even when meeting up with a couple of people, it is important to maintain social distancing measures. 

Sudiptha Paul ’23 has been practicing socially distant meet-ups with his friends. While he and his friends always gear up in gloves and masks, Paul noted that. “not everyone on the street is following the rules.”

Subah Patwari ’20 delivers cupcakes to her friends during quarantine. (Subah Patwari)

Subah Patwari ’20 has taken another approach to interacting with her friends, dropping off cupcakes at their houses. Delivering snacks is a safe alternative to meeting up because everything can be wiped down before use. 

“A lot of people also had Eid meet-ups where everyone wore masks and gloves but sat apart from one another,” said Patwari. Keeping distance and wearing appropriate protection is essential to holiday gatherings, but this also applies to everyday hangouts between friends. 

Take the appropriate measures if you’re going to hang out with others!

Exercising

Besides protesting and hanging out, many want to go outside to get some exercise. It can be incredibly difficult to get a good workout inside a small apartment, but students have found ways to stay safe while exercising outside. 

Krish Shah ’21 enjoys jogging around his neighborhood. “I have either a bandana or mask around my neck, and when I see people ahead, I just pull it up! I also wear gloves as an extra precaution,” said Shah. Keeping a mask around your neck until you come within six feet of others is a good modification for those who have trouble breathing with the mask on.

Ilias Soumayah ’20 practices skateboarding in an empty parking lot in order to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ilias Soumayah)

Ilias Soumayah ’20 likes to skateboard, which he can’t do inside. To stay safe, he has found a relatively vacant area for this activity. “I skate in an empty parking lot wearing a mask. It’s one of my favorite hobbies, and it’s nice that I have a space to skate without worrying about social distancing,” said Soumayah. A great way to stop the spread is to find less busy spaces for your activities and outings.

Picnics & Eating Out

If you’re planning on having a picnic or eating out, make sure to always have wipes and hand sanitizer at the ready. Wipe everything down once you settle, and sanitize your hands before eating or handling food.

If you’re meeting others, make sure that everyone brings their own drinks and snacks so that nobody needs to share. Bring blankets to make sure the area that you’re sitting on is clean, and as always, look for the emptier spots in the park.

Quarantine is hard enough without living in New York City-sized homes. The city is beginning to reopen slowly, and staying inside is increasingly exhausting. If you’re sick of staying home and plan on going outside, please take the appropriate measures to stay safe. 

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