As vaccinations continue to rollout, 2021 has so far been focused on ending the COVID-19 pandemic. New cases are at their lowest level and most countries are finally getting rid of their masks. This is certainly good news for those who have been longing to relish the outdoors and bond with their loved ones.
Any decision to hold a gathering or event should follow a risk-based approach. Nowadays, people are plagued by the question of whether it’s safe for family and friends to gather while the pandemic is on hand. With more people venturing the outdoors, it’s important to weigh the potential risks and rewards, and plan with caution to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Safety measures may include limiting the number of guests, disinfecting chairs and tables, or renting portable toilets or washrooms for sanitization needs.
By now, families are likely planning for intimate, small gatherings at home to celebrate family dinners, birthdays, and other small celebrations. To make this happen, safety guidelines for small gatherings are appropriate to make sure your loved ones stay safe while having fun. In this article, we’ll discuss some safety precautions you can take while organizing gatherings at home during a pandemic.
Keep the venue and washrooms sanitized
Since you’ll be having the gathering at home, you need to ensure everything is clean, sanitized, and disinfected. The last thing you want is for the guest to get infected right at your home. This means making sure the house is fully sanitized to ensure the health and safety of the guests.
The safest way to organize a small gathering is to hold it outdoors while taking precautionary measures. Since you’ll be inviting people who don’t live with you, outdoor gatherings are safer than hosting them indoors. The backyard, garden, or rooftop are some ideal places with which you can host a gathering at home.
For the tables and chairs, make sure to have them sanitized as well. Toilets or washrooms require extra attention since these are common places where infection can easily spread. A great tip is to hire sanitation and disinfection services since they have the right tools to do a better job.
For extra measure, assign someone to sanitize the washroom every few hours. A great tip is to rent a portable toilet to prevent guests from coming inside the house to access the washroom.
Observe food safety
The size of the gathering depends on how the guests can keep a safe distance in your yard. Ideally, guests from a single household should gather in one area or seat at their own table. This way, they can comfortably remove their masks while eating.
Use disposable utensils, such as plates, cups, cutlery, and straws. Place them on each table to prevent guests from leaving the table to look for items they need. Don’t forget to wrap the cutlery in a sanitized container to prevent getting infected. For the meals, assign a specific time for when food needs to be served. It’s common knowledge to avoid letting food sit outside or exposed for too long.
Distribute a safety playbook
When hosting a gathering, you want to make sure everyone is aware of the safety guidelines once they arrived. You may expect a few people to be overly cautious about the potential risks of holding gatherings.
Before distributing invitations, distribute health check forms or directly ask the guests if they experienced related symptoms or in close contact with a person with COVID-19. You may check the COVID-19 rates in your location and where the guests live to decide whether it’s safe to hold or attend a gathering. Also, don’t forget to ask who is already vaccinated.
These measures will identify which people are allowed to attend and those who should stay at home. If someone is at risk or infected, advise them to stay indoors and provide virtual access to the party so that they won’t feel completely left out.
For those who can make it, inform the guests about the safety guidelines and risk management measures during the gathering. Communicate the message by sending out a friendly ‘safety guideline playbook’ which you can distribute before the event. You may also include risk management techniques to allow everyone to engage safely with other guests.
The guideline should cover all the safety measures that need to be followed during the gathering. Let them know their health and safety of each guest is your ultimate priority.
Whether big or small, organizing events or gatherings during or after the pandemic is risky. Still, it’s possible to socialize with family and friends as long as you observe the above-mentioned precautions. If safety is really your concern, you have the option to host a virtual event to make sure everyone stays safe.