The age-old public health practice of social distancing is in full effect in the U.S. as officials push the public to stay indoors and avoid crowds in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
With new technology and just about every service being available on an app, there’s little excuse to leave your home.
Here are everyday tasks that you think you might have to step out of the house for but you can actually accomplish online.
Online banking has become more common, letting you deposit and transfer money with just a few clicks and maybe even facial recognition software.
Most banks have apps or websites where customers can pay their bills, adjust any auto-pay schedules, transfer funds from one person to another or even apply for a loan. If you happen to get a check in the mail from the federal government, you can even deposit it via your bank or credit union app.
For those less savvy on the internet, many banks like Wells Fargo also offer an online chat option to ask your banking questions. The only thing you can’t really do is take out cash, but if you’re staying inside you won’t really need that anyway. Many businesses are also limiting cash use.
If you’re truly unsure about how to navigate the world of online banking there are representatives you can call from your bank to help guide you through the process.
Store shelves may be empty but there are products somewhere.
Grocery shopping has even gone digital as Publix and Aldi turn to third-party apps to help deliver or pick out your groceries.
With apps like Instacart, you can select a participating grocery store and peruse their selections adding goods to your cart and selecting a delivery or pick up time. Stores like Target and Walmart have also provided these options in their apps to make it easier for customers to avoid the crowds.
Unfortunately, if something is out of stock, such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper have notoriously been, the service or store will likely not replace it.
In need of new cozy pajamas to lounge in the house in? Maybe you decided you’ll take up running and need new sneakers as you socially distance yourself from others but still try to stick to a workout regimen.
No need to drive to the store, you can find it all online.
Besides food, there are a ton of websites including Amazon.com where you can buy clothes, shoes or accessories for whatever you may need.
Some stores will offer free delivery or the option to try on clothes before you buy them. You just have to find your perfect website or store and stick to it.
In case you were wondering-- no, you can’t get the coronavirus if you receive a package from China.
The days of waiting at the doctor’s office have gone virtual.
The White House announced Tuesday that telehealth services must be available to all Medicare beneficiaries.
Other major insurance companies including Signa, Aetna and Humana also offer telehealth services. This means patients can essentially speak to a doctor via a webcam or Facetime-like software to express any symptoms or illnesses they feel. Doctors can prescribe medication or suggest another telehealth appointment with a specialist.
If you are prescribed medication, some insurance companies can guide you to a pharmacy that offers delivery to get medications straight to your door.
Check with your provider to see if it is changing its telehealth policy or if it is offering it as an option.
Fill out the census
The census has already been mailed out to much of the country and for the first time ever you can fill it out online.
Before, you had to get your census survey in the mail, fill it out, then walk back out the mailbox to send it back. Now respondents can just step outside once to get their mail and use a special code sent to them to fill out the census online.
[CENSUS 2020: For the first time ever, you can fill out the census online]
Gyms are closing and complexes are locking up their social areas hoping to reduce the temptation of socializing.
With government leaders asking people to spend less time outside, it’s difficult to hold a workout regimen.
Major gyms are taking their services online. Planet Fitness is offering free workouts daily via Facebook Live and 24 Hour Fitness is offering “work-ins” to their members via their app.
Personal fitness trainers are offering workouts on YouTube, Facebook Watch, Instagram Live and the like. Search the hashtags #workins, #coronavirusworkout or #Socialdistancingworkout on social media platforms to see what’s out there.
Go to church
As health officials are warning against congregating in groups of 10 or more -- which includes places of worship --churches and temples have opted to live stream their services.
Those who are spiritually engaged can find local church services via Facebook, YouTube or a church’s live stream on their website. Some are even utilizing Twitter to make sure services are available to anyone.
For those who practice Catholicism, some priests are wary about offering confession via an app like Facetime or Skype. You’ll have to check with your local church leaders to see what they recommend.