Travel & leaving home

Leaving your home

Instructions on leaving your home will differ depending on where you live. A good rule of thumb is to avoid nonessential outings and stay indoors as much as possible. You should know and follow the instructions according to where you live to lower your chances of being exposed to COVID-19.

What does "shelter in place" mean?

Shelter in place means to stay at home. Exceptions to go out may include tasks that are essential to the health and safety of your family and pets.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or other serious health problems such as kidney disease, you should not go out except for essential medical appointments and treatments such as dialysis.

Additionally, non-essential businesses are closed such as dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, fitness centers, hair salons, public events, and convention centers. The purpose is to avoid large groups of people from gathering to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Businesses that may be open include stores that sell groceries, take-out and delivery restaurants, gas stations, pharmacies, laundromats, banks, and government offices and services. Check on local information for shelter in place rules in your area.

What does "lock-down" mean?

In the context of COVID-19, “lock-down” and “shelter in place” (see above) are being used interchangeably. Check on local information for lock-down rules in your area.

When should I leave my home?

The best practice is to stay at home except for essential medical appointments and treatments, such as dialysis. You may also have to leave your home for other health-related issues. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, call your healthcare provider immediately. If you have a medical emergency call 911.

In some areas, supermarkets are offering special shopping hours for senior citizens to shop without additional crowds in the store. This may be a good option for older adults if grocery delivery is not available. Check on local information about when to leave your home.

Should I use public transportation?

Public transportation such as buses, subways, and trains will increase your chances of close contact with more people which may increase your exposure to COVID-19. In some areas, public transportation is reserved for essential workers. You may choose to use a taxi or ride share service to limit your exposure to large numbers of people.

How can I protect myself if I have to use a taxi or ride share?

You can protect yourself in a taxi or ride share by wiping down the seat, seat belt and anything else you may touch in the vehicle with a disinfectant wipe. Don’t shake hands with anyone in the vehicle and don’t touch your face. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after paying for the ride.

Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19 on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).