[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter what feels like forever, our days are finally growing longer and warmer and we can now get ready to make further lifestyle alterations and embrace the summer lifestyle suitable for the ongoing COVID pandemic.
COVID-19 has certainly changed our lives and it seems like the move to level 1 lockdown restrictions in South Africa was perfectly timed to coincide with the transition into the Southern hemisphere’s summer months. Of course, the COVID pandemic remains a very real danger (and probably will for quite some time), you could probably be forgiven for deciding that, with the restrictions now as mild as they’ll get and with the sun coming out, you’re going to be a bit more relaxed in terms of social distancing and your vigilant safety protocols.
So, even though we at the Essential Millennial encourage the very strictest social distancing and health and safety protocols, we do realise that there are many readers out there that are going to go out and have their fun anyways. So we’ve compiled a list of “half-baked measures” that won’t put a dampener on your post-COVID summer:
Beware the mask tan
Obviously the number one issue throughout the COVID pandemic has been that of mask-wearing. Whether you’re donning a bikini or board shorts, you’re gonna want to buy a mask that expresses your sense of style. Most women are all too familiar with the problem of bikini lines and, now that you have to strap a piece of material to your face for the trips to the beach, ending up with a tan-line on your face is going to be far more apparent than any tan-line that you could hide under clothes.
RealSimple outlines some pretty useful techniques to avoid “face mask face”. The first is to make sure that you’re stocked up on sunscreen at all times. It has never been more important to make sure you apply your sunscreen properly and regularly – double up on your application to the top half of your face so that when you do tan there isn’t such a massive distinction between the uncovered parts of your face and whatever falls under your mask. Secondly, they recommend to either go to tanning salons (if they’re open), apply self-tan with extra focus on the skin that falls under your mask or, simply, to tan more at home where you don’t need a mask. If your skin is already bronze, the tan-lines won’t be as prominent.
Focus on what you CAN do
Look, we all want to be at the beach… but even if we can’t spend every other day enjoying the sand under our feet, there are still plenty of summer-time activities, like smaller, more intimate pool parties and braais (Barbecues for our foreign readers). Now that the alcohol ban has been lifted, we can also make those cool summer punches and make homemade ice cream. Focus on growing all of those plants in your garden now that the weather allows you to. Find a nice secluded spot in a quite part of town where you can watch the sunset, read a book while snuggled up in a hammock, go on scenic drives… there is an endless list of traditional summer pastimes that you are still able to enjoy and some of them, arguably, are way cooler than getting sunburnt and getting sand stuck in awkward places of your body.
Pools: Dos and Don’ts
Back in June, in the height of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, Health.com looked at how COVID-19 was transmitted in places such as public pools.
The good news, of course, is that there’s a lower chance of COVID transmission in outdoor spaces and in warmer temperatures. There’s no evidence that it can spread through water in pools (or hot tubs, spas, or water play areas), per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And if you’re swimming in a chlorinated pool, the chemicals make it even less likely that you can catch the disease.
The CDC also published guidelines for public pools, such as providing supplies like hand sanitisers, disinfecting shared objects like loungers, and creating lanes or any other kind of demarcation that maintains strict social distancing. You can use these guidelines at your discretion at home of course.
I hate to break it to you, but this one is a firm no from us. The global spike in infections back in August were directly linked to carefree youths partying up a storm. For obvious reasons, it led to a blatant disregard for social distancing guidelines and it was under 39s that accounted for the most new infections in Canada, where the virus was otherwise very well contained. I know some of us live for the Shimmy Beach Club Parties in Cape Town during the December holidays, but you’re just going to have to let those go this year. Whether it’ll ever be safe to attend parties like that again, we don’t know, but right now there’s absolutely no doubt that it’s too risky.
The Essential Millennial team isn’t here to police you and we take no joy in being that lone cloud on a sunny day, but we also feel a deep sense of responsibility towards our readers and we implore you to stay safe this summer. Be wise about what you do, be vigilant and find creative ways to enjoy this incredible time of year.