Visiting friends and family during COVID-19

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Wisconsin is starting to reopen and people are starting to reconnect in-person with friends and family after a couple of months.

"It's kind of a break in the waters kind of thing. It's nervousness and anxiety, but also knowing that at some point it's going to have to happen. I don't know, I don't think we can go on like this for like years and years," said Joshua Barbosa of Eau Claire.

For some people though, they say when the Safer at Home order ended their fear and risk of coronavirus did not.

"I want to take it a little slower since we are in kind of that age group that might be more of an issue," said Teena Dresser of Eau Claire.

Jim Schumacher is also in the high risk group and like many has had to learn different ways to communicate with people, like through Zoom.

"I'm in touch with all my friends, just not in flesh and blood, but they're there and I'm there for them so it really hasn't impacted me all that negatively. I'd like to see them in person, but you know," said Schumacher.

While Schumacher says it's been difficult not being able to give his grandkids hugs, he says he is waiting for more testing to happen before seeing people in-person again.

"Once I'm assured that that's done, I will go back to regular contact with people as before," he said.

Dunn County Health Department Director KT Gallagher says there are some groups of people who should still not visit anybody in person, such as those with underlying health conditions.

"I know that it's easy to push through a headache or push through a little sore throat, but in times like this it's so important that if they're experiencing any symptoms that could be consistent with COVID-19 that they stay home," said Gallagher.

Dressen says that is what she is doing with her family.

"They're actually very supportive of trying to maintain some distance. They're in the medical field and so I think they see a little bit more than what we do and so whatever they suggest we do," said Dressen.

But Gallagher says that if people do meet up with a small group of family or friends, there are some ways to do it in a safer way.

"Good hand hygiene, literally washing their hands as soon as they come in the building, using hand sanitizer. Good respiratory hygiene, and so for some people that might look like wearing a cough-based covering. And then good environmental cleaning," Gallagher explained.

Gallagher says now with the statewide order over, people should be looking into any local orders if they have them to find out possible penalties for gatherings and unnecessary travel.

Although the recommendations in most, if not all, counties in Wisconsin is to limit gatherings to ten or fewer people.