Staying home alone or with your family is always going to be the safest option when it comes to COVID-19, but it may not be the healthiest for your mental well-being. Humans are social creatures, after all, and most of us won’t be able to stay completely holed up until a vaccine is approved (likely at least six months from now). So how do you host a gathering safely?
First, invite wisely. Remind invited guests to stay home if they’ve been exposed to the virus in the last 14 days or are showing any symptoms. Invite only those who you know are following safety protocols and have not put themselves at risk.
Find a small group of people you know and trust and form an ‘isolation pod.’ That should be your social unit until the case count gets under control, especially because of cases going through the roof in some states.
Second, host your event outside, if at all possible. If not, gather in a well-ventilated area.
Third, when guests arrive, minimize close contact. Instead of shaking hands, elbow bumping or hugging, wave, and verbally greet each other. It’s a good idea to set ground rules before the event—with your family and your host—to ensure you’re on the same page. Open and honest communication is key.
Fourth, have each separate family unit bring their own food, drink, and service ware. While no coronavirus cases have been linked to food, you do increase your risk level when everyone gathers around the same bowl, plate, or wine bottle—or when you all touch the same serving utensils.
And last but not least, wash your hands often!