Staying home alone or with your family will always be the safest option for COVID-19, but it may not be the healthiest for your mental well-being. Humans are social creatures, 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 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, primarily 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. Open and honest communication is vital. 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.
Fourth, have each separate family unit bring their own food, drink, and service ware. While no coronavirus cases have been linked to food, you 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!