In an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19, Ohio University has extended online coursework through the end of the spring semester at least, and citizens are encouraged to practice social distancing even as businesses and public areas begin reopening. We wanted to provide residents with some tips on maintaining social distancing and sheltering in place comfortably in their Athens, Ohio, student rentals, as well as some information specifically for the students out there.

When to Leave Home

Social distancing road signWhile we no longer have to stay at home orders to the extent that we once did, it’s still important to put careful consideration into where you go and who you’re with when you do decide to leave home. Here are a few examples of times when it’s definitely appropriate to leave your apartment or home:

  • Shopping for food and other essential items
  • Working at an essential business
  • Receiving necessary health care

Additionally, you may now gather in small groups, so you may choose to go shopping for nonessential items, go to a restaurant, or gather with friends. You’re encouraged to continue maintaining appropriate social distancing when possible and wear a mask when you can. Remember, you’re not just exposing yourself to the people in your immediate vicinity; you’re exposing yourself to everyone they’ve been in contact with too.

Obviously, this isn’t a comprehensive list. The best rule of thumb is to use your own best judgment to determine whether or not it’s appropriate to leave home and who you are comfortable being around. If there’s any way to avoid leaving your home for these necessary items and services, or if you can do without the items for the time being, it’s usually better to do so.

Maintain Social Distancing

If you must leave your home, you should maintain distance from anyone outside of your residence. This means keeping 6 feet of distance between you and other people in the grocery store, in line at the checkout, or even when you’re out on a walk. Even if you feel perfectly comfortable being closer than 6 feet to another person—be it a stranger, friend, or even an extended family member—please respect that that person may not feel as comfortable with you intruding upon their space and keep your distance.

Wear Appropriate PPE

There has been much back-and-forth regarding what personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for the general public. Currently, it’s recommended that individuals wear face coverings when going out in public, and many businesses require this of their customers. This can be in the form of a homemade cloth face mask, a medical face mask, or a simple bandana or scarf. You should ensure that it covers your nose, mouth, and chin at all times. Avoid touching or adjusting the face mask, and treat it as soiled as soon as it’s removed; throw it away or put it in the wash and use a clean one the next time you go out.

While gloves aren’t required, you may wear them if you wish. Please just remember that you should still avoid touching your face, even while wearing gloves. As with a face mask, wash or throw out the gloves after use.

And remember, it is a business’s right to implement requirements for customers to receive service, including the requirement to wear a mask. If you’re not comfortable wearing a mask, please respect that business owner’s decision and find another business to patronize.

Wash Your Hands

Of course, you should be washing your hands as much as you reasonably can. When you receive a food delivery at home, wash your hands after. When you get home from the store, wash your hands. When you touch a picnic bench or other public surface, wash your hands. Carry hand sanitizer with you for those times when you need to disinfect, but a sink isn’t accessible.

Remember to be conscientious, even as you return to normal activity levels. By making smart choices while meeting with friends and going out to eat, we can prevent another major outbreak and help save lives. If you find yourself in need of new housing as summer comes to a close, reach out to Wharton Rentals, one of the top Ohio University rental companies, for assistance finding the right housing for you.

Wharton Rentals is committed to making the off-campus living experience a positive one for college students in Athens, Ohio.

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