Gatherings of 10: What’s Recommended?

Now that gatherings of up to 10 people are permitted in Kentucky, here are some guidelines to keep you and your friends healthy and safe.

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Photos by Jacob Hamm

Words by Jacob Hamm

As of Friday, May 22, a major update in Kentucky’s social distancing recommendations came into effect: Kentuckians are now allowed to meet in small groups of up to 10 people. 

Many people, especially teens and others eager to finally see their friends in person again, thought that they were able to hang out as normal. However, there seems to have been many incorrect assumptions about what this update actually entails. The updated rules still recommend following previous social distancing rules and recommendations that are already in effect. 

These social distancing rules include:

  • Holding gatherings outside whenever possible
    • Hanging out outside allows the fresh air to dilute and disperse any germs from the people you are around. It also makes it much easier to follow the next rule:
  • Remaining at least six feet apart from those outside your household
  • Not sharing food, drink, napkins, etc.
    • Sharing items with those outside your household is already risky and not encouraged, but food, drink, and other objects that are not easily disinfected are especially dangerous. Per the CDC, the virus can live on surfaces for hours and even days on different materials. Routine cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are recommended to limit the survival of the virus. This means that passing around materials from one person to another is unsafe.
  • Washing your hands frequently before, during, and after gatherings
    • Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with water and soap has been repeated frequently because it is an effective way to prevent the virus from spreading. 
  • Wearing a mask
    • As much as people like to object to wearing a mask as a violation of their “freedom,” masks are essential in protecting both yourself and others. In fact, Kentuckians were asked to start wearing masks in public on May 11. While masks are meant to protect others in case you are infected, it is not a substitute for social distancing (CDC). It is merely another layer to prevent droplets of the virus from spreading through the air. When social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, such as at the grocery store, face coverings should be worn. 

This update also opens restaurants up to running at 33% capacity, and the order that goes into effect May 25 opens up more businesses such as barbershops and nail salons. Continuing to follow social distancing rules whenever you leave your house is critical to limiting the spread of the virus.

It is important to remember that these gatherings, as well as any trips to newly opened businesses, should not be frequent and that it is important to stay home and communicate virtually whenever possible. Everything we do helps our state, our health care employees, and ultimately everyone around us. 

For more information, Kentucky’s Healthy at Work website contains an updated schedule for reopenings, as well as rules and regulations and resources for citizens and businesses.

As always, if you suspect you have COVID-19, be safe and be smart: stay home and call a healthcare provider and follow their recommended instructions.