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Artist wears full hazmat suit on flight to Charlotte to protect from coronavirus

Tripp Derrick Barnes was quarantined in New York for 60 days, so he decided to fly down to his home state of South Carolina. But not without COVID-19 protection.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the COVID-19 pandemic largely keeping people in the house for the last two months, people may be looking to get out of the house in a way that’s not going to put them at much risk.

Medical professionals say there’s almost no such thing as “going overboard” with precautions, as you have to do what makes you feel most protected when you leave the house. For Tripp Derrick Barnes, that meant flying from New Jersey to Charlotte in a hazmat suit.

Barnes says he was quarantined in New York for 60 days.

“It takes a mental toll on you, I was like, I need to get out of here,” Barnes said.

So he decided to fly down to his home state of South Carolina.

“If I took the right precautions, I should be safe,” Barnes remembered thinking.

By precautions, he meant a splatter painted hazmat suit.

“I just painted it for fun,” Barnes said. “I don’t want to scare people right, I want people to like it and enjoy it.”

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For the most part, Barnes says they did.

“When I was walking down the aisle, I mean people were howling, people were laughing,” Barnes said.

“Mentally, we have to continue to live our lives, we can’t stay inside and hide,” said nurse practitioner Vera Rivera.

Rivera says the amount of precautions you should take depends on your risk factors.

“I think people need to do what they need to do at this time, and we have to be very accepting,” Rivera said.

Barnes says his health was his real reason for wearing the suit.

“I have Lyme disease, so my immune system’s not so great,” Barnes said, “So I wasn’t taking any chances.”

Because of how much car rentals have scaled back, Barnes says he went from the plane to an Uber. Rivera says riding in a rideshare car is safe enough if you sit in the back and protect yourself. 

“As long as you have a mask on and you have access to hand sanitizer or wipes, you’re fine,” Rivera said. “Again, we have to try to go back to living.”

Rivera says as we enjoy more freedom, protecting your face is critical - especially for those with risk factors - as there’s no way to know who around you may be asymptomatic.

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