Entertaining in a COVID-19 World
By Family Features and eLivingtoday.com
Depending on where you live, restrictions on social gatherings may become less strict in the coming weeks and months. However, many experts caution that care should still be exercised when groups of people gather.
After an extended period without social contact, it’s only natural to crave some interaction, and there’s evidence that doing so can be advantageous for your mental health. However, taking precautions to protect your physical health, along with your guests’, can make for a more enjoyable event.
Keep it contained. Limit your gatherings to a few close friends or family members so if someone does get sick, contact tracing is a simple task. Keep in mind the number of same-household families you invite is more important than the number of people in that family. For example, one family of six that has already been living in close quarters poses a lower risk than three couples living in separate houses. Also be mindful of your guests’ approach to prevention; if they’ve been less cautious than your family or vice versa, there’s room for conflict and anxiety.
Celebrate outdoors. Indoor event spaces naturally have less circulation, meaning potential airborne particles hang around longer. Planning your gathering outdoors helps ensure more free-moving fresh air and more space for guests to spread out and practice social distancing.
Encourage guests to bring their own. It may go against all your good hosting inclinations but hosting a bring-your-own party eliminates shared food and the risk of cross-contamination. You can provide disposable table service (plates, silverware and napkins) and single-serve beverages, but skip the cooler everyone reaches into.
Provide ample, well-spaced seating. Encourage guests to keep some distance from one another by creating comfy seating arrangements. You can take it a step farther by asking guests to bring their own chairs and directing each family to set up its space a reasonable distance from the next.
Make cleanliness a priority. Create stations with hand sanitizer or wipes. You can also create a makeshift sink to minimize trips to the restroom indoors. Provide a spray bottle or bucket, soap and paper towels near the hose for quick clean-ups.
Celebrate Birthdays from a Safe Social Distance
(Family Features) A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, finding safe ways to celebrate special events like birthdays can provide a boost for mental health. Whether you’re celebrating a kid or a kid at heart, planning a socially distant birthday party is a way to enjoy some camaraderie and honor life’s important milestones.
Younger partygoers may be more difficult to corral than adults who have a better understanding of social distancing guidelines. That’s why it’s a good idea to host kids’ parties outdoors.
- Art Far Apart – Use the sidewalk or driveway as a canvas and have each kid (and parent) spread out. Provide trays of supplies like chalk or washable paint and encourage kids to interact with sing-a-long songs and games.
- Driveway Performance – Many kid-friendly entertainers who made a living with special appearances at schools, libraries and other family events have modified their performances to accommodate small, private crowds. Look into local musicians, magicians and other kid-friendly performers who might set up in your yard or driveway while guests lounge on blankets and chairs from a comfortable distance.
- Birthday Parade – If getting together isn’t practical, you can still make a little one’s day special by hosting a drive-by parade. Allow the birthday boy or girl to dress up in his or her birthday best and create a throne to sit on while watching friends and family drive by and wave from cars decorated with streamers and balloons. (If you live in a smaller community, check with the local police or fire station to see if they’re willing to get in on the fun with a guest drive-by appearance.)
Like kids, many adults are simply craving personal interaction, so even the simplest of gatherings can make a birthday feel special.
- Wine Tasting – Set up a series of seating areas around the backyard where same household groups can gather. Use disposable shot glasses to serve flights of wine samples to each group or ask guests to bring their own and use flowerpots filled with ice to keep bottles chilled.
- Pool Party – While kids young and old are likely to enjoy a party set poolside, an older crowd is more likely to keep some distance in the water. Scatter some shade umbrellas around so each group has its own home base and plan on single-serve refreshments or ask guests to bring their own coolers.
- Driveway Dinner – Simply hanging out feels like a treat these days, so set up lawn chairs and let everyone place a delivery order. Add some background music and individual desserts then let the good times roll.
Look for more entertaining advice in a COVID world and beyond at eLivingtoday.com.
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