Reaching Out Safely
Does your RE program or congregation want to reach out to others in your congregation by providing craft kits, chalice kits or other materials?
Would you like to deliver groceries or medicines to your neighbors who can't get out?
Are you looking for guidance for how to safely collect and distribute items to your community?
In this time of Coronavirus we want to help each other and be supportive. Some of this requires at least being able to exchange stuff. But how to do it safely?
What we currently know about the virus (which is changing by the day) is that it only makes you sick if it gets into your lungs. Breathing it in is the highest risk, so someone breathing, talking or especially coughing within six feet of you puts you at risk of inhaling the virus if they have it. If someone coughs and the virus lands on a surface, it can get into you if you touch that surface and then touch your mouth, nose or possibly your eyes. How long the virus survives on surfaces varies depending on the type of surface. This is why the CDC recommends cleaning frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs several times a day and washing your hands. Washing your face several times a day is also recommended.
If you want to make deliveries I suggest you follow the same recommendations food delivery services are following:
- Notify the folks you are coming and make sure you have a safe, dry location where you can put the item near the door.
- Let them know when you arrive. Come to the location they asked you to leave the item, place it there and then back away from the door at least 6 feet. You can just leave at this point, or you can wait until they come out to ensure that the package is taken in safely.
- You can talk to each other as long as you are at least 6 feet apart (door to end of the sidewalk for example).
- When the person takes the item inside, they should unpack it and then immediately wash their hands. Store the container in a place away from people in the house so that if the virus is on it, it will not be spread.
- If items can be wiped down with disinfectant, such as plastic bottles, you can do so. If you receive produce or other food items that can be washed, then you can do so. Food that requires cooking should be fine.
- New testing from the National Institute of Health shows that the virus lives on paper or cardboard for 24 hours, plastics and metals for 2 to 4 days. If nothing in the box or bag is perishable you can set it aside for a day before opening it if you are concerned about exposure.