Erin Murphy, Public Health – Seattle & King County
Are you a parent or caregiver wondering what Phase 2 means for your family? We’ve compiled a list of questions and answers that may help you navigate through some of the confusion as we safely re-open.
Can we see friends and family again?
Yes! You can gather with up to five favorites once a week. For example, you can invite five or fewer friends over to your home once a week. (That number six on your list should be on your B team and will have to come over the following week). In reality, there isn’t one perfect magic number, but if we all follow these general practices, we will be in a better spot to slow the spread of disease.
Openly communicate with family and friends about exposures and potential symptoms. Helping one another make fully informed decisions about gathering is considerate and caring. Transparent sharing helps everyone determine the safest time and place to send time together.
When we visit with family or friends do we have to wear face masks? How about keeping 6 feet of distance?
Remember how this disease spreads—mostly person to person, by respiratory droplets released when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. So, when you gather, it’s better to be outside. Keep your distance as much as you can–at least 6 feet away. Physical distancing may be nearly impossible with younger children. Walks may be a good option with smaller children in wagons or strapped in strollers. Or perhaps choose to see even fewer people with less distancing involved.
Be diligent that you and your friends and family are washing hands. And wear those masks when in public. And remember, just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s risk free or a good idea for your personal circumstances. Adults 60 and older and those with underlying health conditions remain at especially high risk for severe disease and they and their families should continue to take extra precautions.
Can my kids hug grandma and grandpa again?
Grandparents are likely in high risk groups for serious illness, so finding no-contact ways of expressing affection is the safest thing to do (like making a heart with your hands). If you can’t resist a hug, here are some quick tips on how to do it as safely as possible:
- Wear face coverings as hugging is close contact
- Let children hug grandparents around the knees or waist
- Hug facing opposite directions
- Grandparents can kiss grandkids on the back of the head
If there are tears, try not to be close for long. Tears and runny noses increase risk for coming into contact with more fluids that may contain the virus.
For more — The New York Times shared some illustrated tips on hugging grandparents:
Are playgrounds open?
Yes, some playgrounds are now open! Playgrounds come under various jurisdictions as parks are managed by different cities and some by counties and the state.
King County Parks opened as of June 22. Learn more here.
We recommend you look to specific cities for more information on other playground openings.
Are summer camps open?
What about sport activities?
Yes, sports activities can take place! State guidance for Phase 2 and 3 can be found here.
Should I send my kids back to daycare during Phase 2?
Each family should make the decision that is best for their family. We all must balance protecting the community with our own physical and mental health.
Can my nanny return to work now?
Yes, Phase 2 allows domestic services to resume including nannies.
Is it safe to take my children to the doctor for wellness or other visits?
Yes! Primary care clinics have made changes to keep your family safe and healthy, including limiting time in waiting areas, scheduling well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon, and more. Keeping up to date with your children’s vaccination schedule is so important to protect them from preventable diseases. Call today to schedule your child’s appointment!
Need help finding a doctor, clinic, or other health resources?
Dentists are also seeing patients again and taking additional precautions to ensure a safe clinical environment. Call your dentist for more information.
Stay tuned for more information about face coverings and children! Washington State recently mandated face coverings beginning this Friday, including for children 6-12 and strongly encouraged for ages 3-5.