Friends gathering while wearing face masks during COVID-19.
Healthy Living

COVID-19 and Gatherings: How to Safely Host or Attend

Dec 17 2020

The holiday season is fast approaching, and all of us want nothing more than to be with our loved ones. However, please remember that we are still in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Case numbers continue to climb with people still getting sick, needing to be hospitalized and even dying from this virus.

It is critical to take many precautions when hosting or attending any type of gathering during this time.

Need some tips on how to keep your loved ones safe? We’ve got you covered.

Have masks, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer on hand

During a pandemic, party favors definitely look different.

If you’re hosting a gathering, provide a face mask for each of your guests. They should wear it during their entire visit, except when they are actively drinking or eating.

Providing cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer for guests to use is also a good idea for everyone’s safety. And if you are a guest attending a gathering, be sure to bring these supplies in case the host or other guests have not thought of them.

Make social distancing as easy as possible

Even with your loved ones, practicing social distancing is critical in terms of stopping the spread of this virus. Social distancing means staying at least six feet away from those outside your immediate household.

Studies thus far have shown that COVID-19 doesn’t spread as much when people are outdoors. So, host your gathering in your backyard if you can. When your guests are outdoors, they will have more space to practice social distancing. The air also dilutes any virus particles more quickly when people are outside.

Your guests should be reminded to greet each other with a smile or wave rather than a hug or handshake. Consider making and posting signs about this throughout your gathering space.

Keep your guest list small

This is not a time to invite lots of family members and friends over to your home. Instead, keep the guest list for your gathering as small as possible. If any of your guests are not feeling well or think they may have been exposed to COVID-19, tell them not to come.

Keep a list of your guests for the weeks to come. That way, if one of them does come down with COVID-19, you’ll be ready to help assist with any contact tracing for your guests.

At this time, community regulations about gatherings are changing as we see a spike in COVID-19 cases. When attending or hosting any gatherings, first make sure your plans do not conflict with your local government’s guidance.

Food safety is key

The safer option with a gathering is to avoid serving any food at all. Have guests bring their own drinks and food from home.

However, if you do decide to provide food, do not set up a buffet. Designate one person to serve the food to everyone else. When preparing the food, have everyone else stay away from the grill or kitchen.

Single-serve packets are important during a pandemic. This goes for condiments as well as food items, like chips. Disposable utensils, cups and plates are also great. Consider setting up a cooler full of drinks so people can serve themselves.

Keep your bathroom clean

Guests will need to wash their hands throughout their visit to help keep germs at bay. Providing a hand-washing station outside of your bathroom is the best option for this. If this is not possible, you’ll need to set some ground rules for your bathroom.

Replace cloth towels with paper towels for single use. Have cleaning supplies available so guests can wipe down light switches, sinks, doorknobs and toilet handles after they’re done. Also, make sure your guests never form a line by your bathroom.

Do you really need to host or attend this gathering?

The second wave of COVID-19 cases is upon us. While making your gathering plans, take a moment and ask yourself, “do I really need to host or attend this gathering?”

Staying home with your immediate household members is the best way to keep everyone safe. This is especially true for individuals who are at high risk with COVID-19.

Consider other ways we are able to connect with one another, such as texting, video chatting or phone calls. While this is not the same as in-person gatherings, it keeps all of your loved ones as safe as possible.

Stay updated on what Bon Secours is doing related to COVID-19.

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