CORONAVIRUS RESOURCE FAQS #1
The coronavirus (COVID-19) is new to all of us and our firm would like to help you navigate through this unprecedented period in any way we can. As such, we are going to serve as a resource for some of the best information we are seeing and for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve heard. We’ll be updating our site regularly and would like to hear your thoughts and any questions you are trying to answer. To get our updates, please follow The Law Offices of Scott Glovsky on Facebook by visiting here and then clicking on the “follow” button. For non-legal questions, since we are not doctors or scientists, we’ll be providing what we feel are credible resources for what we share so you can research further if you like. Just click on the links provided.
Here are some questions we’re hearing a lot.
I live in California and our governor has ordered us to stay at home except for “essential services.” What are “essential services?” Source
Essential services include the following: Gas stations, Pharmacies, Food (including Grocery stores, Farmers markets, Food banks, Convenience stores, Take-out and delivery restaurants), Banks, Laundromats/Laundry services, and others.
Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services. You can find a complete list here.
What is closed?
Among others, Dine-in restaurants, Bars and nightclubs, Entertainment venues, Gyms and fitness studios, Public events and gatherings, Convention Centers, and Hair and nail salons.
Does it matter if I use soap and water or is it just as good if I use hand sanitizer? Source
We’ve all heard the importance of washing hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, but is washing with soap and water better than using hand sanitizer? Many people are having a difficult time finding hand sanitizer. There are a few things to keep in mind: Soap and water is more effective at killing these germs than hand sanitizers. In addition, it is important that the hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol, and many hand sanitizers are not. The CDC states that “people may not use a large enough volume of the sanitizers or may wipe it off before it has dried.”
Another great source is NPR’s Science Friday from March 13, 2020 called, “Sanitizing According to Science.” Go to minute 14:30 to hear about hand washing specifically.
Do I need to clean fruits and vegetables from the grocery store? Source
It is always a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables from the grocery store. This is sound advice that doesn’t relate specifically to the current coronavirus outbreak. The first thing you should do when you return home is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Genevieve Ko, the LA Times cooking editor, wrote about this topic on March 16, 2020. In this article, she cites the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s declaration that they are not aware of any reports suggesting coronavirus can be transmitted through food or food packaging. She also quotes an infectious disease specialist who suggests that the disease is most commonly transmitted from close proximity to other people. Even so, washing the produce you buy from the store will be a good habit to pick up and maintain into the future. See the article to get helpful tips on washing multiple types of fruits and vegetables.
Are the packages that are shipped to me from places like Amazon, grocery stores and UPS safe for me to open? Source
Postal and shipping companies are considered essential services in California, but can a package or letter still carry the coronavirus and infect you? According to CDC.gov, “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.” With that in mind, the general guidelines of frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, and avoiding touching your face and hands should be followed when handling mail, packages, and packaging.
Yahoo! News published an article from the New York Times all about this subject on March 25, 2020, which includes a fascinating history of mail sterilization, quotes from representatives of the big package delivery companies, and information from scientific researchers. They all seem to concur that the risk of coronavirus transmission through the mail is small, but all the same standard precautions described above should be taken before and after handling mail or packages.