Around this time last year, everyone’s inbox was filled with articles about summer party planning, preparing for social events, cleaning private pools, and top tips for backyard grilling. Fast forward to this year, and things look a bit different. Graduation ceremonies, birthday parties, and worship services have all been canceled or substantially limited. Instead of thinking about summer vacation plans, many people are simply concerned with surviving the rest of the year with their job intact. For many, it’s enough to be grateful for if they and their loved ones haven’t become direct targets of the coronavirus.
That’s not to say everyone is simply focused on staying alive, however. If you think it’s been long enough since the COVID-19 pandemic forced us all inside, you’re not alone. With the new coronavirus announced as a pandemic early in March by the World Health Organization, and most states in the U.S. going into lockdown shortly thereafter, people are beginning to feel more restless than ever. And it’s not just in the United States: all over the world, as summer brings its warmer weather, people are thinking more and more about getting out, enjoying some sun, and finally meeting with their friends after literally months of solitude.
Of course, going outside to participate in public life again isn’t going to be that easy. You need to know how to stay safe at a party, which might not be as simple as how to approach an unfamiliar dog. In many states, stay at home orders and social distancing mandates are still in place. And for good reason: restless or not, the COVID-19 virus hasn’t disappeared just yet, and people are technically still at risk. The last thing anyone would want is a second wave of the virus to occur next year because of failing to distance ourselves properly.
But that doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all summer. By taking a few simple precautions, you can get out, socialize with your friends, and have a great time, all while minimizing the chances of you or anyone else getting sick. For example, in Ontario, Canada, public gatherings of up to 10 people are now allowed, which is enough for a backyard event. But don’t call weed control services or break out the grill just yet — you need to know how to stay safe at a party during the pandemic.
How to Stay Safe at a Party
While businesses slowly begin to open back up and states ease up on lockdown restrictions, you’re no doubt wondering how to stay safe at a party during COVID-19. In this article, we’ll discuss ways you can continue following current lockdown and social distancing orders; tips for summer party planning during the coronavirus pandemic; and ideas that you can apply to your own party, or take with you as a guest at someone else’s event. To learn how to stay safe at a party this summer, keep reading.
Go Outside to Socialize
For our first step in how to stay safe at a party, make sure the event is taking place outdoors. For now, indoor parties should be seen as a no-go. That might be disappointing if you’re especially proud of your interior design, but think of it this way: you won’t have to hire an air duct cleaning contractor before you host your event!
The reason your party needs to be outside is because the virus is diluted outside in the open air. Even if someone at the party is sick without knowing it and shedding the virus, the wind will scatter it through the empty space. This doesn’t mean you can’t contract the coronavirus while you’re outdoors, of course — but it does mean that your immune system will have less of the virus to fight off if you do become exposed. The risk of outdoor transmission isn’t quite at zero, but it’s substantially lower than if you’re inside an enclosed space.
You might be glad to know that swimming and water sports should be relatively safe: coronavirus hasn’t been shown to travel through water, so if you’ve been looking at used boats for sale, a jet ski could make for a good party attraction.
Remember to Practice Social Distancing
eing outside will help dilute the virus if it comes off of anyone sick, but if you’re standing or sitting really close to them, your body will still end up with a lot to try and fight off. The point of being outside in the first place is so there’s plenty of empty room around people for the virus to be diluted. So even though it feels great to be outside and with friends, try to practice good social distancing.
If you can manage it, keep six feet between yourself and everyone else at all times, and remind your guests to do the same. The one exception is for people you actually live with: people in the same household can be close to one another without increasing their risk of transmission. For that reason, you might actually consider having a separate table for each family unit that’s invited. You don’t have to separate everyone so much that they can’t easily talk or see one another. Just keep a few dining room furniture sets in the yard, so people can sit comfortably with just enough space between them to feel safe.
Keep Your Guest List Somewhat Short
Not to be a downer, but in order to practice effective social distancing, you really need to keep the number of guests you invite to a minimum. Besides, as mentioned earlier, in many places it’s mandatory to have gatherings of no more than 10 people at a time. This is important when you’re trying to figure out how to stay safe at a party.
If you have a lot of friends and your heart is set on celebrating with all of them, consider hosting your event in waves: instead of just one party, repeat the event over the course of a week or a few days, and having a different group of people over each time. It’s not quite as exciting as having everybody together at once, but you just might be helping to prevent the spread of coronavirus through your careful efforts.
Think of it this way: have you ever noticed that, when there are lots of people at an event, it’s really hard to properly socialize with any of them? Meeting in small groups may seem less fun, but the intimate nature of smaller gatherings can make for some wonderful, meaningful conversations. You can still invest in proper weed control services even if the whole block won’t see your beautiful lawn.
Use Disposable Dinnerware (and Avoid Mixing Them Up)
Obviously you and your guests should avoid sharing cups or utensils during your event. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to clean things up after the party is over. If you’re washing dishes that other people have used, you’ll be exposing yourself to whatever germs or viruses they may have unknowingly brought with them. To avoid this, make sure everyone uses disposable plats, cups, napkins, and flatware. We know, it’s not a very environmentally friendly solution. But for now, your priority should be to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Of course, if everybody’s cup and silverware look exactly the same, it’s not impossible for someone to get theirs mixed up with someone else’s. You can avoid this by using tape in different colors to differentiate between each guest’s dinnerware, color-coding their utensils and other items. You can also write everyone’s name on a different cup before your guests arrive, to simplify place setting and avoid having everyone touch the same pen when they get there.
Involve Everyone in a Simple Cleanup Process
Our next tip for how to stay safe at a party follows up with the last one: have everyone each throw away their own plates, cups, and utensils before they leave, and let the trash collection manage the cleanup. As we mentioned above, you don’t want to be washing dishes that other people have used, just in case one of them might be sick. But it won’t be much better if one person has to go around picking up everyone else’s trash.
To avoid transmission as much as possible, have a special dumpster or large garbage can brought to your yard for the event. Then before your guests all leave, politely ask them to throw away their trash in the dumpster or garbage can. Consider providing small grocery bags for everyone to bag up their trash in, especially if you’re having entire families over.
Involve Everyone in Providing Their Own Food or Drinks
Part of the fun (and the hassle) of having guests is that you decide what everyone eats for the day. Sure, maybe a few people offer to bring sides or deserts, and if you’re having a potluck everyone might pitch in. But obviously you and your guests should avoid sharing food with each other as long as the virus is still floating around. However, simply providing the food for everyone isn’t necessarily a perfect solution, either.
Instead, offer a few foods that you can share safely (more on that below) and invite your guests to bring along snacks, side dishes, or drinks of their own to eat while they’re there. You can always brew a pot of coffee and encourage your guests to bring your mugs. Using the web to order ground coffee is better than getting it in person from a shop. It doesn’t have to be awkward: consider letting each guest know what will and won’t be provided, and they can choose whether to bring anything extra for themselves or not. It may seem less than friendly, but if everyone brings their own food or drinks, you’ll be working together to reduce the spread of coronavirus through contact.
Use the Grill to Cook
Another example for how to stay safe at a party is to serve food off of a hot grill. Everyone loves a barbecue, and even if you aren’t particularly fond of meat, there are countless creative and exciting dishes that can be made on a grill, including many vegetarian options.
The great thing about grilling this summer is that the high temperature of the grill will kill or diminish any strain of virus that may have contaminated the food. Viruses and bacteria can’t thrive under such high temperatures, so by placing food directly from the grill onto your guests’ plates, you’ll avoid transmitting any sickness or germs. Just be sure to avoid letting anyone but the cook use the grill or touch the utensils, and remember to put the food directly onto guests’ plates — don’t place it onto a serving platter first.
As an extra tip for how to stay safe at a party, consider offering desserts to your guests from a local bakery or grocery store. Much like local florists, bakeries are being incredibly careful to avoid anything that might allow coronavirus to be transmitted through their baked goods, so it’s relatively safe to provide such goods at a party. It’s also a good idea to decorate your outdoor party with plenty of beautiful flowers for aesthetic appeal. Just remember to wear gloves, a mask, and a clean apron if you have to distribute the baked goods before serving.
Get the Bathroom Ready
In addition to mowing the yard and getting tree care services, you’ll also need to set up your bathroom for guests. Bathrooms are notorious for being just a bit dirty, no matter how careful you are to keep yours sterilized and immaculate. Unfortunately you can’t simply turn off your bodily functions while you’re in public, and the same is true for your guests. However, with just a few steps, you can have your bathroom ready for visitors without increasing your risk of spreading the virus.
First of all, make sure there’s a clear path to your bathroom, and try to make it easy to find. You’ll also want to thoroughly clean your bathroom, although you would probably do this anyway. Next, place a stack of sterile paper towels on a clean shelf, and put a sign next to these instructing guests to use one any time they touch to doorknob, turn on or off the faucet, or flush the toilet. This way guests won’t have to physically touch anything in the bathroom, preventing them from spreading or contracting any germs that might lead to illness.
Set Up a Hand Washing Station
In addition to having a clear pathway to the bathroom and taking proper sanitary measures, you should have an easy-to-access table or stand set up with hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Besides encouraging your guests to practice good hygiene by washing their hands often, it’s also a kind courtesy to offer in case someone gets their hands dirty.
Keep Your Masks On
As you gather around the fire pit or outdoor home theater, remember to have everyone wear their masks. As uncomfortable as they might be, evidence seems to show that wearing surgical masks or face coverings can help prevent viruses from spreading. To properly continue the fight against coronavirus, encourage your guests to wear masks at the party when they’re not eating. You should keep a few extras on hand in case someone forgets to bring their own.
With that, you should know how to stay safe at a party this summer. You’re now prepared to host the best party on your block!