Have fall fun while mindful of virus precautions

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A recent gathering of young adults in Ames appears to violate the recommended rules for social distances.

If your church or circle of friends is puzzling over how to maintain autumn traditions during the COVID-19 pandemic, please consider the following tips and suggestions.

Outdoor gatherings are best and, fortunately, fall weather is typically enjoyable. If it happens to rain, a garage with the door open or an open-sided tent are good alternatives.

Provide ample space for everyone to spread out. Commonly used rectangular folding tables will not work well, since people sitting across the table from one another are only separated by half the recommended distance.

Handwashing at an outdoor event could be a challenge, but don’t just skip it. Instead, set out hand sanitizer in several locations. Offering disposable face masks is also considerate.

Throughout the event, wipe down any surfaces touched by numerous people.

Event attendees have obligations, too. It’s wise to stay with your cohort group — people in your household. When interacting with others, keep your distance, and wear a face covering.

Pumpkin patches and apple orchards are popular at this time of the year and may offer activities. Again, being outdoors is an advantage, but use the cautions outlined above.

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to the virus. Stay in your bubble.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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