6 High-Risk Activities to Avoid During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Rethink your plans if they fall in these high-risk categories.

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As months have passed during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have learned more and more about how the virus spreads. This means they now have a better idea of which activities are relatively safe, and which are high-risk activities during COVID-19.

Activities to Avoid

Several factors influence risk level. The smaller the crowd, the better. Shorter events are safer than longer events, and outdoors is safer than indoors. Behavior at the activity also matters. For example, shouting and singing release more respiratory droplets and increase the risk. And of course, wearing masks and social distancing improve safety.

With these factors in mind, here are the high-risk activities during COVID-19 that experts recommend avoiding:

1. Going to parties

This includes weddings and funerals—even if it’s “just your family.” There are a few problems with parties. First of all, they tend to involve many people gathering in a small space, often indoors. They also tend to include alcohol, and experts warn that people tend to ignore COVID-19 safety tips when intoxicated.

In July 2020, many news outlets around the country reported that small family gatherings were common sources of COVID-19 spread. In one tragic case, a family event in Texas resulted in 14 positive cases and one death, according to NBC News.

2. Attending mass gatherings

This includes sports games, concerts, conferences, festivals, and parades. These events share similar risks as parties, except they tend to have even higher attendance rates. Even if the event is outdoors (such as baseball games and parades), the density of people makes it dangerous.

Furthermore, mass gatherings tend to attract people from beyond the local area. People traveling to an event might bring COVID-19 into the area and cause an outbreak, or they could bring the virus back to their homes and cause outbreaks there.

3. Traveling to places with a high rate of infection

Travel during COVID-19 is inherently risky, but if you want to travel, choose a place that has stable or declining infections. Learn more about safe travel during COVID-19 here.

4. Attending bars, clubs, and restaurants

As hard as restaurants try to make the experience safer during the pandemic, it’s still not risk-free. For example, indoor dining involves people from many different households sitting and talking for long periods of time without masks. When alcohol is involved, diners may start to lax on social distancing guidelines.

Of course, there’s a lot of gray area here: Outdoor dining is safer than indoor dining. Additionally, it’s significantly safer to dine with the people you live with, instead of dining with a group of friends from different households. Finally, different restaurants do better at maintaining safety protocol than others. Avoid restaurants that aren’t limiting the number of guests, spacing out tables, or enforcing masks.

5. Going on a cruise

Cruises are notorious for spreading infections—not just COVID-19. This is due to crowding and lots of common spaces. Learn more about infections that spread on cruises here.

6. Going anywhere where social distancing isn’t being practiced

Every now and then, you may pursue a “safe” activity, only to find out the risk is higher than you expected. For example, avoid the grocery store where nobody is wearing a mask, or leave the park where everyone is crowding together in large groups.

When it comes to COVID-19, it’s better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. This way, you can play your part in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping your loved ones and community safe.