LSU AgCenter: Use caution when engaging community at large

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When Louisiana begins its first phase of reopening the economy following weeks of a stay-at-home order on May 15, people will need to continue to take precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The most important thing is social distancing,” said AgCenter food safety specialist Wennie Xu, referring to recommendations that people should maintain at least 6 feet between themselves and others.

In Phase 1, businesses generally will be limited to opening at 25% of their capacity. People who can continue to work remotely should, and employers should make sure those who have to go into the office have enough room to spread out, Xu said.

“Maybe you have to move tables in break rooms and employees’ desks farther apart,” she said.

Businesses that have customers should continue to display signs with information such as how far apart they should stand in line, she said.

“If it’s hard to keep social distance, wear face masks,” she said. And people should know how to properly wear, remove and clean masks.

It’s also critical that people practice good hygiene.

“Hand-washing, hand-washing, hand-washing — I can’t stress it enough,” Xu said. When soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.

Also be sure to disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as door knobs and stair rails.

Above all, be careful and considerate.

“I understand everybody wants to go out with their friends, but the reason we have the phased reopening is we want to monitor the new cases as we reopen. We do not want to cause another spike by partying, gathering and doing too much of those things,” Xu said. “Remain cautious and keep social distancing and wearing face masks.”