9 tips on staying safe this Labor Day weekend

ORLANDO, Fla. — With a holiday weekend coming up, many people will have plans to get together with family and friends.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, holiday’s are a bit different than we are used to.

Read: 9 things to do this Labor Day weekend

Here are nine ways you can stay safe this weekend:

1. Wear a mask

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a mask is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.

Everyone should wear a mask in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, the CDC said.

2. Practice social distancing

If you are planning on going to the beach or a theme park for the holiday weekend, make sure to practice social distancing.

According to the CDC, you should stay at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) from other people. It said keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Read: Heat exhaustion vs heatstroke: Here’s the difference and how to stay safe

3. Have gatherings outdoors

If you are planning to have a gathering with family and friends try to have it outdoors.

“We are looking at moving around a little bit more and having these barbecues. If we’re doing them, make sure that we’re doing the barbecues outdoors with as much space as we possibly can,” said Dr. Erin Bromage, a comparative immunologist at UMass Dartmouth.

4. Wash your hands

Washing your hands not only prevents the spread of the coronavirus, but it can also save your family from food borne illnesses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that each year, 48 million people become sick, nearly 130,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die due to food borne illness.

It seems so simple an oversight to cause such a dangerous situation, but unwashed hands are a main cause for illness from food.

At the very least, you should have hand sanitizer and wet wipes within reach for a quick and easy clean-up.

5. Stay hydrated and be aware of heat-related illnesses

It’s going to be a very hot weekend in Central Florida. The heat index will make it feel even hotter, ranging between 100-107 degrees.

Heat typically kills more people in the U.S. than other weather-related events, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, but there are easy ways to protect yourself.

The two most dangerous heat-related conditions are heat exhaustion and heatstroke; both are life-threatening if left untreated.

Click here to see the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.

Read: Labor Day 2020: Sales at Macy’s, Best Buy, Walmart, online and more

6. Bring your own food

If you are planning a barbecue with family and friends, you should bring your own food.

Having your own food will make sure everyone is not reaching into the same bowl for chips or using the same utensils to get some food.

7. Practice safe grilling

If you plan on grilling this weekend make sure to stay safe while cooking.

Here are some tips:

  • Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw meat and for ready-to-eat items like veggies or bread.
  • Keep cooler closed and out of direct sunlight.
  • Always use a clean plate or tongs for serving cooked food. Never reuse items that touched raw meat or poultry to serve the food once it is cooked.
  • Marinate foods in the refrigerator, never on the kitchen counter or outdoors. Don’t reuse marinade.
  • Once food is served, it should not sit out for longer than two hours (or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90 degrees). If it does, discard it.
  • Check for detached bristles from a bristle brush that might have made their way into your food.

8. Be aware of rip currents at the beach

With temperatures heating up, what better place is there to beat the heat than the beach?

Florida has many options for beachgoers and boating enthusiasts, but with these favorite activities also comes danger.

A rip current is a strong channel of water flowing from near the coast out past the surf zone. This powerful current can pull the strongest swimmer into the deep waters.

It is best if you avoid going in the water when rip currents are a threat, even a low threat. Always check with lifeguards and learn what each flag means.

Click here to learn how to stay safe if you are caught in a rip current.

9. Stay safe while boating

On average, there are 14 deaths a year associated with boating. About 77 percent of those death are people 40 years old and older, and 87 percent of that number are men. Commonly, boaters are caught by the strong winds before a thunderstorm arrives, making for very dangerous surfs.

Here are some boating safety tips:

  • Always check the local weather forecast and for upcoming threats.
  • Always check for marine hazards.
  • You should always have a way to receive weather alerts while on the water.
  • Always wear a life jacket.

Watch below for more safety tips:

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.