Although the vaccine for COVID-19 has become available, it is still a genuine disease, and any social gathering should be considered a breeding ground for exposure. So, take these critical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
HOSTING A SMALL GATHERING
Check the COVID-19 infection rates in areas where guests live to consider whether it is safe to hold or attend a gathering. If you choose to have guests at your home, make sure that everyone follows the steps to make assemblies safer. Here are tips to help you make your get-together safer:
- Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for a safe gathering.
- Limit the number of guests to allow people to remain at least 6 feet apart.
- Host outdoor gatherings when possible with family and friends who live in your community.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between use.
- Keep background music volume low, so guests don’t need to shout.
- Avoid activities that will involve shouting, cheering loudly, or singing. Clap, stomp your feet or bring (or provide) hand-held noisemakers instead.
- Cancel your gathering if you or someone who lives with you is sick or has been near someone who thinks they have or has COVID-19.
- FOLLOW OTHER GUIDELINES LISTED BELOW…
- Wear a mask with two or more layers to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect yourself and others.
- Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face.
- Masks should be worn indoors and outdoors except when eating or drinking.
- As the Host of an event, make sure you have extra masks available. Set up a Welcome Basket for people as they enter the party area and include masks, mini hand sanitizer bottles, and individually packed hand wipes.
STAY AT LEAST 6FT AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO DO NOT LIVE WITH YOU
- You are more likely to get or spread COVID-19 when you are in close contact with others.
- Remember that people without symptoms or with a recent negative test result can still spread COVID-19 to others.
- Guests should avoid direct contact, including handshakes and hugs, with others not from their household.
- As the Host of your party, you will need to use your organizational skills to protect your loved ones. Set up tables with families in mind. Use place markers to seat people that live together at the same table. You may have to rent an assortment of table types for different sized groups.
AVOID CROWDED, POORLY VENTILATED INDOOR SPACES
- Avoid crowds and indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors. If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.
- With Spring upon us, what better time to take the party outdoors. It is safer and offers plenty of room for people to move around.
- If the wind is a problem on your party day, purchase Kwik-fit or Stay-put plastic fitted table covers for your tables. If using linens, choose to the ground sizes.
WASH YOUR HANDS
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and before eating.
- Make sure to dry your hands thoroughly using a clean towel or by air drying.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, and mouth.
- If hosting an event, you can set up sanitizing and/or handwashing stations. Make sure to supply plenty of paper towels in the bathrooms and at your stations.
PLANNING FOR FOOD AND DRINKS
There is no evidence that handling or eating food spreads COVID-19, but it is always important to follow food safety practices.
- Encourage guests to bring food and drinks for their household.
- Limit people going in and out of the food preparation areas.
- Have one person serve all the food.
- Use single-use options, like salad dressings, food containers, plates and utensils, and condiments.
- Limit crowding in areas where food is served.
- Offer no-touch trash cans for guests to throw away food items easily.
- Wash dishes in the dishwasher or with hot soapy water immediately following the gathering.
I know that everyone is missing each other deeply. Making an effort to follow safety guidelines will allow us to finally spend some quality time with our friends and loved ones. Take care and be safe! Please make sure you get your vaccine. Our entire household is vaccinated now and very thankful!