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How to socialize safely during the COVID-19 pandemic

“It’s important for our health and well-being but we have to do it in a safe and thoughtful way.”

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As more aspects of society are reopening after the lockdown, many people are wondering if it's really safe to see friends. What about having playdates for children?

Dr. Preeti Malani, an infectious disease expert, says when it comes to gatherings and friends, less is more.

“We are all longing to be with our friends, we want to be with other people, and we should,” Malani said. “It’s important for our health and well-being but we have to do it in a safe and thoughtful way.”

Dr. Malani recommends keeping gatherings small and try to be outdoors as much as possible. Maintaining social distance and wearing a mask if indoors.

Make sure no one is sick as best as possible and limit the number of people you see overall.

“Have a few friends that you know are doing a good job of social distancing in other aspects of their life,” Dr. Malani said.

The same concepts apply to children’s playdates although experts acknowledge it is tougher for kids to social distance.

“To keep kids apart from their friends has other negative effects and all of this is balancing the risk of COVID versus the risk of other things, including just emotional well-being,” Malani said. “Your kids need to be with other kids, adults need to be with other adults. so we can all do our part and engage in a responsible way. So that that we can have that kind of interaction that we’re missing right now, but to do so in a safe way.”

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