social contact post covid

How to stay safe
when socialising again

01 December 2021

As the holiday season approaches, you may feel eager to start socialising again, but it’s still important to exercise caution and remain vigilant. Unfortunately the risk of contracting COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. So before you jump back into that crowded bar or concert life, follow our tips on how to safely navigate your post-lockdown social life.

Remember to follow any guidance put in place by the authorities where you are. Many places, including hotels, restaurants, shopping centres and public transport, are still mandating the wearing of a mask. If you are meeting up in a public place, be sure to check the rules first. Also keep in mind that restrictions change regularly. Keeping yourself updated can give you an extra layer of reassurance in knowing that you are keeping yourself and those you live with safe.
Even if you feel ready to jump back into your pre-pandemic social life with both feet, don't take on too much at once. Pace yourself, and try not to pack your social calendar too soon. The world is opening back up again, but that doesn’t mean that you need to jump head-first into a large social gathering right away. Start with some low-contact socialising with the people you trust most; for example dinner at an outdoor restaurant with a couple of your vaccinated friends. 
The safest way to socialise is to try and stick to meeting only those you know and avoiding as much contact as possible with strangers. Get together one-to-one or in groups of two or three. Scale up to five or ten when you all feel comfortable opening up your social bubble to more people.
Now more than ever, safety is going to look different for different people, and it's important to respect boundaries. Be supportive of friends and family who aren't ready to do everything that you are. Agree on an approach you are all comfortable with before getting together; indoors or outdoors, elbow, fist bump or hug, masks or no masks.
It’s still a good idea to avoid crowded areas. Try to opt for more secluded spots and maintain social distancing of at least 1 metre with others as recommended by the World Health Organisation. If you arrive somewhere and it’s already crowded, don’t be afraid to suggest a ‘plan B’ to your friend who may be similarly concerned. Whether indoors or outdoors, the bigger the crowds, the higher the risk of transmission.  

The risk of COVID-19 can vary depending on the number of people and location of a gathering. Indoor gatherings are potentially more risky than outdoor gatherings. While many restaurants are open again in many countries, you may prefer to meet outside where the risk of transmission is lower. A crowded setting may have greater risk. And the longer the gathering, the greater the risk. An event that spans a couple of hours may be less risky than something that spans an entire weekend.

When you are trying to determine what safety measures to take in public spaces, assess the situation in these terms: what’s the location, can I social distance, and do I know the people around me and their vaccination status.

Each country has specific rules in place around face masks, and different arrangements around when and where they will no longer be required by law.

Face masks have played an important role in reducing the spread of COVID-19. 

Choosing to wear a face covering, especially in enclosed or crowded spaces, will continue to limit the spread of the virus. Even if you are meeting in a private setting, you may want to consider wearing a mask and asking your friends to do so too. 

It’s important to carry on doing the things that have so far proved successful in curbing COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. This includes staying at least one metre from other people, and being vigilant about hand hygiene. Make sure you have plenty of hand sanitiser available if you are hosting or attending a social gathering, so you can disinfect your hands regularly without having to go to the bathroom repeatedly.

And, finally, the most important part of socialising is knowing when you really shouldn’t be socialising at all. Don’t ignore that sore throat or cough. Get a test and stay home until you get your negative result.

To learn more about Coronavirus and your cover visit our COVID-19 Information page.