The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus. This means minimizing time spent with people outside of your household, particularly indoors.

We recommend that you follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) everyday guidelines to prevent the spread of any respiratory illness – including COVID-19.

If you must go out in public, follow the two steps below to protect yourself and others. If you are at higher risk of contracting serious illness from COVID-19, review our resource page.

1. Wear a mask or face covering

Preventing transmission of COVID-19 works best when everyone is wearing masks or cloth face coverings. These can be safely worn by nearly everyone over the age of 2.

When worn correctly over the nose and mouth, face coverings reduce the spread of respiratory droplets. These are the droplets that travel through the air when someone coughs, sneezes, or talks. This is the main way the virus spreads from person to person.

Helpful information about masks and face coverings

2. Practice social distancing

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Reduce close contact with others outside of your immediate household.
  • Avoid large gatherings, crowds, and indoor spaces with poor ventilation.
  • Keep at least 6 feet apart from others.

Under certain conditions, people with COVID-19 seem to have infected others who were more than 6 feet away, according to the CDC.

These transmissions occurred within enclosed spaces that had poor ventilation. Sometimes the infected person was breathing heavily, for example while singing or exercising.

If you are planning to host or attend a gathering, the best way to protect yourself and others is to stay outdoors and maintain social distance. Also ensure everyone wears a mask and keep these items on hand:

  • A face mask
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol)

How can I stay safe while resuming more activities in public?

If you decide to resume more activities in public, consider:

  • Whether COVID-19 cases are increasing or decreasing in your area
  • How vulnerable you and your loved ones are to illness
  • Whether you can maintain a safe distance from others

Remember: The more closely you interact with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.

Not sure which activities are allowed in your county? The State of California has a tool showing the types of businesses that are open near you. 

Show me what's open

California uses several factors to decide when businesses or activities can reopen or resume. These include the current number of COVID-19 cases in an area. 

Overall, a business or activity can reopen or resume sooner when they can:

  • Always accommodate mask wearing.
  • Allow physical distance between individuals from different households.
  • Limit the number of people per square foot.
  • Limit time that an individual is at the business or activity.
  • Limit time of exposure.
  • Limit mixing of people from different households.
  • Limit amount of physical interactions of visitors/patrons.
  • Increase airflow. This can include operating outdoors or opening windows and doors.
  • Limit activities that are known to increase virus spread. This can include singing, shouting, and heavy breathing.

You can learn more about daily activities and going out at the CDC’s website.

Is it safe to host or attend a holiday gathering?

The CDC has guidelines for safely celebrating the holidays this season. These guidelines are meant to supplement – not replace – any state, local, territorial, or tribal rules.

When planning to host an event, you should check current COVID-19 levels in your area. These will help you decide whether to postpone, cancel, or limit the number of attendees.

Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household poses low risk for spread. In-person events pose varying levels of risk. Some of the ways to reduce your risk at holiday gatherings include:

  • Host or attend outdoor events rather than indoor events where possible. If the event will be indoors, open windows and doors to increase ventilation.
  • Limit the number of attendees.
  • Avoid contact with anyone outside of your household for 14 days before the event. Request all other guests do the same.
  • Bring supplies like masks, hand sanitizer, and tissues.

Is it safe to travel?

Travel increases your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

You can get COVID-19 during your travels. Remember: You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to others.

Don't travel:

  • If you are sick
  • If you have been around someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days
  • If someone you were planning to travel with is sick

Before you decide to travel, consider these three factors:

  • Is COVID-19 is spreading at your destination?
  • Does your destination have restrictions on travelers including mandatory quarantine?
  • Is anyone in your household is especially vulnerable to illness if they get COVID-19?

Learn more about the risk factors associated with different kinds of travel.

How can I stay healthy while at home and lower my risk of getting sick?

Stress, lack of movement, and poor eating choices can easily erode your health during the shelter in place. Healthy eating and self-care can be a great way to lower your risk of getting sick. 

Our virtual Wellvolution® programs can help you:

  • Eat better
  • Manage stress
  • Treat chronic conditions like diabetes

Programs are available to most Blue Shield of California and Blue Shield of California Promise Health Plan members at no extra cost. 

Learn more at wellvolution.com.

Please note: Medi-Cal and some self-funded employer-sponsored plans do not have access to Wellvolution. Please contact the member services number on your ID card if you’re not sure if you have access to Wellvolution.