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COVID Prechecked “Safe Spaces?” What Can Smoking Teach Us?

Our entire social style of interaction has been radically altered due to COVID-19. In many places, certain areas of activity like bars or indoor dining have been completely shut down as a public safety measure, with no end in sight. Even in locations where the pandemic was thought to have been effectively managed, resurgences are still popping up every now and again.

This puts a lot of private citizens and business owners in a tight bind. Shut down completely and wait for a vaccine, or take the risk? For many people, this puts them in a tight decision between bodily health risk and mental health risk from total isolation. However, there may be a path to approaching the issue, using a blueprint that’s been around for decades.

Creating A Balance

Part of what makes a pre-vaccine COVID-19 solution difficult, especially in the U.S., is the sheer amount of polarization, to the point where minimizing or denying the threat has become a part of people’s identity. Of course, mortality numbers point to the opposite, but we have a sharp divide between groups holding COVID parties in some sort of rebellious gesture and high-risk citizens parading down the street with slogans like “wear a mask, don’t kill your Grandma”.

In some cases, rather than outright callousness, the public perception of how to react to the COVID-19 pandemic might be just a quick reaction or denial. Are we all going through some sort of Kubler-Ross grief cycle? In this case, the grief is losing social interaction and our lifestyle, even if we were fortunate enough not to lose a loved one to the disease.

The Smoking Parallel

How exactly does smoking factor into this? Many among us can remember that all the way back until the early 1980s, smoking was not only an accepted habit, but a fashionable one. Hollywood propagated the idea of it as macho for men and elegant for women, and many people were happy to take part. However, as scientific research came out about the long-term effects of smoking, particularly secondhand smoking, there was a slow, but growing public outcry against the practice. Banning smoking outright may have been off the cards, but bans in public places were very much possible. The reasoning for these rules, which were considered quite controversial at first, was that passive smoking was a risk to passerby.

Does this sound a bit familiar? You may not be able to ban a virus, but the calls for public mask mandates are done in the name of protecting others. Just like those initial smoking bans in public places, there is a significant contingent of people arguing against it on the grounds of their personal freedoms and convenience. As a result, the temporary answer to COVID-19 may be similar to the permanent one for smoking. Establishing “safe sections” for people to gather in with proof that they are not infected can scratch that social itch without potentially putting people at risk. Hopefully, public health measures and perceptions can change over time. For now, though, this may be the best balance we can strike.

Right now, we are in a worldwide state of flux when it comes to public health measures. However, the notion of a “safe zone” like we have for smoking may be a happy medium to provide some level of confidence without people feeling their freedoms are being completely infringed upon. However, to make this happen, you would need to have some fast means to prove that you have tested negative for COVID-19.

At, we offer a product that does just that — the COVID PreCheck. You can learn more about this at or use it from This requires you to either complete the self-assessment test or reach out to your medical professional for a proper COVID-19 test. Either you or your doctor will update the app with a negative result or not showing any COVID symptoms or exposure. Our app then generates a personal QR Code that can be scanned in a variety of settings to show you are negative for COVID-19 or safe to return to work/community for a period of time. This is the perfect quick and convenient fit for a COVID-19 “safe-space.”