The warm weather that is currently in full swing across the country is a welcoming change of pace in a world that has shifted rapidly over the last few months. Now is the time for relaxation and awakening for friends and families that can provide a renewed state of mind, and impact your mental health.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and isolated during this time of social distancing, but it’s necessary to guard your mental and physical health in order for your body to operate in peak healing performance.
Having social support systems is a significant part of maintaining health, and there are many enjoyable ways that people can spend time with loved ones in a safe manner. The following guidelines for small-group gatherings will ensure that all of your attendees stay safe and cultivate a time of health and happiness in your community.
Planning Your Gathering
Keeping a few key concepts in mind and knowing how the coronavirus spreads is a critical part of planning a safe get together. Be sure to check your local city laws on capacity restrictions. If food and drink is being served, 6 – 10 people maximum is a good rule to follow, and your event shouldn’t be any longer than 2 hours.
Some states allow up to 40 or 50 people for outdoor gatherings, but this can change at any time, and it’s important to check with your local governing body.
Keep Your Events Outdoors: Since the risk of spreading the coronavirus is far lower outdoors, It’s a good idea to plan any social gatherings you have outside, especially while the weather is beautiful. Speech droplets disperse more rapidly into the air that is directly around us, and stagnant air indoors keeps droplets in place, therefore bacteria stays in the air longer.
This is why physical distancing and masks provide increased protection in reducing the spread of the virus along with holding small gatherings outdoors instead of inside.
If you’re having your event catered, inquire about which COVID-specific safety precautions the catering company is using. Are they practicing the sanitary serving of alcohol and individually-prepared entrees? Do they put reusable glasses and flatware through a specialized cleaning process?
Have Guests Bring Their Own Food and PPE: It is possible to catch the virus by touching contaminated surfaces. The good news is that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) believes that this is not the primary way that the virus is being transmitted.
Your attendees should bring their own food and beverages. Having buffet style or shared food platters that are open is not recommended. Your guests may also want to bring their own bottles of hand sanitizer, and their own masks. Be sure to also have hand sanitizer and extra masks and gloves on hand.
Practice Physical Distancing: Outdoor gatherings are far safer than indoor gatherings, but guests who do not commonly share the same living space should practice physical distancing and maintain a gap of at least six feet. Although it is tempting, guests should avoid hugging, shaking hands, singing, chanting, and shouting as this increases the spread of germs.
Have a Sanitizing Station and Plan for the Bathroom: Setting up multiple sanitation stations is advisable. This can include sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, spray bottles, and paper towels. Your hose will work well as a water supply if you don’t have an outside faucet.
Make sure that there is a clear walkway to your bathroom. Ask your guests to use gloves or paper towels when touching bathroom surfaces and wipe down the bathroom after each use. Use paper towels versus shared hand towels and your bathroom should be deep cleaned after guests have left before returning it to normal household use.
Implement Contact Tracing Procedures: Keep a record of who attends your gathering and retrieve their contact info if you don’t already have it. It’s also a good idea to contact guests before their arrival and ask that they do not attend if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms and to check their temperature before making their way to your party.
Positivity Above All
Staying positive during isolation and social distancing can be incredibly difficult, but when you choose to spend time with friends and family in small groups, it’s essential to stay positive. You can even make a game out of it by having prizes for best new recipes, home workout ideas, or ideas for fascinating new hobbies.
Background music and outdoor lights can create a fun party ambiance that helps to relax your party guests and lighten the mood. Sharing what each person is thankful for is another great way to stay positive during this challenging time.