DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been trying to move out of my city all year to avoid the coronavirus. I have heart problems and have been locked away in my home for nearly 12 months. I have been truly scared to leave my home for fear of getting sick. I have been following the market to find a new place to rent in the suburbs or rural areas with more space. But the vetting process for rentals is cutthroat and happens quickly. By the time I get a realtor to return my email or call to an ad for a home, they have selected an applicant already. I’ve glued myself to rental apps trying to get notifications as soon as they post to just have a chance at being the first to apply, but I keep striking out. Any advice for how I can quickly and safely move out of the city? Do you fear for city residents, or am I overreacting? -- Move Me
DEAR MOVE ME: It may be time to expand your search. Consider looking in neighborhoods that are not popular or are off the beaten track. Look in more rural areas than suburban neighborhoods. Look in places that do not have public transportation. You will likely need to have a car in order to expand far enough out to find the right place for you, but do not give up.
While you are in your big city, remain vigilant. When you go outside, always wear your mask and keep your distance. I now double-mask, just to be extra cautious. My doctor suggested that I do my daily walk in the park early in the morning when fewer people are outside. Figure out ways to stay away from people as you try to get outside a bit while you remain in the city.