Public health leaders warn that Labor Day Weekend will be a critical time to maintain COVID-19 safety precautions and prevent the spread of the virus.
"We do need to be vigilant," warned Mary Day, a public health nurse practitioner for Ledge Light Health District, covering East Lyme, Groton, Ledyard, Lyme, New London, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Stonington & Waterford.
Day said that she has noticed pandemic fatigue over the summer. With Labor Day being a precursor to the colder months, she stressed that it is crucial for people to fight back against any fatigue and follow all COVID-19 safety guidelines.
“I would hate to see us go back to where we were in March or April," said Day.
If you plan on going to a cookout this holiday weekend, Day suggests keeping all activities outside. It is also important to keep any gatherings small and with people who you have already been exposed to all summer, rather than introducing new people into your bubble.
“There is this misconception that if people think that they know the people they are around, and none of them feel sick, they are safe. They are not. That is not the case," explained Day.
Masks and social distancing, maintaining at least six feet of distance, will be key to having a safe weekend.
If you plan on serving food, Day said you should avoid buffets. If you have to share food, it is important that people sanitize before and after and that a lid is kept on dishes in between uses.
Additionally, it is best to designate a separate bathroom for guests if possible.
"You also want to make sure you are cleaning using EPA approved products," said Day.
The health district has received complaints of people using masks improperly. Day stressed the importance of the mask covering your nose and mouth at all times. People are encouraged to wash their hands before putting a mask on and when taking the mask off.
The same rules apply at the beach: maintain distance from other parties and wear a mask when that is not possible.
“We don’t want to be saying, 'I wish I took this seriously. I wish I had done what I was supposed to do,'" said Day.