It’s time to have honest conversations about how much we can socially distance.

The LA Times is reporting that Los Angeles County has extended their shelter in place order through July. I’m expecting Cuomo and de Blasio to keep extending NYC’s every few weeks, so it’s effectively the same thing. And I think it’s time to talk to your friends and your loved ones and your roommates about how you’re going to see each other and stay safe.

I would love to be able to say “Yeah! We can do it! Shelter in place for the good of the community!” but clearly we can’t.

We’ve seen the videos of parties and the pictures of crowded parks and everybody isn’t built the same way. Instead of sneaking off and endangering people without their knowledge or consent, we all really need to be honest with the people in our lives about how much we’re prepared to distance.

The only advice I have is to build a circle that you trust and you all agree not to venture outside of that circle. It’s definitely hard in a place like NYC where most people have roommates so your circles expand exponentially, but it’s better to know what your roommates and friends are doing so you can protect yourself and your space accordingly. I know both of my roommates each want to see one person. If I also know that that person isn’t seeing anyone else, I feel safer. If I know that that person has open communication with their roommates who are also only seeing one person (and so on down the line) I feel like the damage is as minimal as possible. If the person you want to see does not have that agreement in place with the people they live with, then that is not a person I’m comfortable with you seeing. All the way down the chain — the link should break when you run into someone who doesn’t live with people who are on the same page.

One of my dear friends has two roommates where one is behaving and one isn’t. That’s not a friend I’m comfortable seeing because I don’t know what their roommate is bringing into the house from all their excursions. Another friend has a roommate who only sees one person, and that person only sees him back and lives alone. That’s a closed circle. I feel like I could safely see that friend.

Do y’all follow me? These are the kinds of conversations that will have to be had going forward so people don’t reach their breaking point of No Human Contact and end up at a house party with 50 other people breathing on each other. Think about your friends, who is responsible, who is living with others who are responsible, and figure out how you’re going to get through the summer as safely as possible. And then potentially the fall. And maybe winter! We are going to be dealing with this until there’s a vaccine because this is what the government would have to do for us to resume our daily lives without risking thousands of casualties:

South Korea and the US reported their first coronavirus case on the same day. The population of Seoul is 9.8 million people. It’s a densely packed city with an extensive subway system. Only two people have died from COVID-19. Two. In NYC — population 8.4 million — the death toll is over 5,000. That’s why you need to have these conversations about how you’re going to stay safe and still see your friends, about how you’re going to keep everyone in your home and community safe. I don’t have any science-based wisdom to impart here, but just from a common sense standpoint:

1) Pick a friend to hang out with who lives alone so you don’t have to worry about contamination from roommates.

2) Pick a friend in walking distance. All public transit is dangerous, and getting into an Uber somebody just got out of isn’t all that safe either.

3) Take a two week break. Hang out with those people you trust for a few days, and then everybody agree to isolate themselves for two weeks, which is a few days longer than the incubation period of the virus.

4) When you leave, wear your mask at all times so you don’t potentially spread the virus to strangers. Stay six feet away from everybody you meet. Wash your hands.

Don’t throw parties. Don’t be selfish. Don’t be stupid. But be honest with yourself and everyone you know about how much social distancing you personally are prepared to follow-through with.

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