Though Covid-19 shows little signs of going away any time soon, some may be ready to get out of the house to attend a safe socially distant gathering with close friends and family once again. It’s a tricky time as everyone has different comfort levels. But we thought we’d share a few tips for having socially distant gatherings this summer.
Please see the full CDC guidelines below, but here are some of the key takeaways for safe small gatherings.
Limit Your Safe Circle of Friends and Family
-Limit the number of people at the gathering and keep to the outdoors. This isn’t a time for a 20 or 30-person bash, but rather smaller gatherings with a few people at a time. It’s more intimate anyway and you can catch up much easier if there are fewer guests.
-Expand your “bubble of friends” wisely, limiting it to those who you know have been as careful as you have.
– If you do invite a larger number of people make sure to measure the distance of your outdoor space so guests can spread out at least 6 feet apart.
-Send invitations and collect RSVPs with contact information for all people. If anyone ends up testing positive for the virus, you’ll have the ability to contact everyone to let them know.
-Request that everyone wear a mask when entering and exiting, inside the house for bathroom breaks, and when talking with other guests less than 6 feet apart.
-Provide disposable masks at the front in case a guest forgets.
-Some guests will feel more comfortable wearing a mask most of the time, others will not. Ensure that social distancing is practiced throughout the event, and that all guests feel comfortable.
-Encourage guests to bring their own food and utensils. This isn’t the time for a potluck or buffet and avoid serving everyone food. Be very clear up front about the expectations for guests to bring their own.
-Place chairs or blankets in your outdoor space that are separated 6 feet apart. This provides good social cues for your expectations and allows for one household to separate from another.
-Better yet, have guests bring their own chairs, and mark the spaces with blankets.
-Place a great bottle of organic wine, water and hand sanitizer, at each space, as a gift from the host. Consider a wine with a screw cap or ask guests to bring their own corkscrew. We have many delicious and affordable organic wines under $20, and retailers often offer discounts on multiple bottle purchases.
-Encourage guests to keep their distance. Avoid hugging, fist or elbow bumping.
-Place several hand-washing stations throughout the backyard space, including one at the entrance. Encourage hand washing before eating and often.
-Encourage guests to wipe down the bathroom after their use. Leave disinfecting wipes in the bathroom with a kind note about the wipe down.
The Washington Post has a wonderful and fun video about suggestions for a safe social gathering.
From the CDC Guidelines for Personal Activities and Social Gatherings:
Updated June 15, 2020
Hosting gatherings or cook-outs
Remind guests to stay home if they are sick
- Remind invited guests to stay home if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are showing COVID-19 symptoms. Anyone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health. Invited guests who live with those at higher risk should also consider the potential risk to their loved ones.
- Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contact tracing needs.
Encourage social distancing
- Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated (for example, open a window).
- Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other families.
- If planning activities for adults and/or kids, consider those where social distancing can be maintained, like sidewalk chalk art or frisbee.
- When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, don’t shake hands, do elbow bumps, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet them.
Wear cloth face coverings
- Wear cloth face coverings when less than 6 feet apart from people or indoors.
- Consider providing face coverings for guests or asking them to bring their own.
Clean hands often
- Consider providing hand sanitizer in addition to clearly marked hand washing areas.
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
- Make sure there is adequate soap or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available in the restrooms and encourage guests not to form a line at the door. Consider also providing cleaning supplies that allow guests to wipe down surfaces before they leave.
- Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
- Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
Limit the number of people handling or serving food
- Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
- Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
- If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
- Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.
Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items
- Use touchless garbage cans or pails.
- Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
- Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
- If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.