Socializing at a Distance.
After months of FaceTime and Zoom gatherings, in an effort to socially distance, the beautiful weather has prompted many of us to step out of our self-imposed quarantines. With summer in full swing, images of barbeques with burgers, corn on the cob and watermelon come to mind. While “virtual get-togethers” carry the lowest risk, if you are thinking about hosting a small gathering, keep the following tips in mind. Always refer to the CDC for the most up-to-date guidelines and recommendations.
Entertaining tips to maximize safety and minimize risks during the Covid 19 Pandemic include:
- Communicate ground rules for guests in advance. If you are the host, you are the boss! Everyone needs to feel comfortable.
- Keep it outside and keep it small. Allow for 6 feet between guests and/or couples. Set up chairs or place markers in advance.
- Determine if you want your guests to wear a mask. You can limit risk by identifying a “dinner hour” and/or by keeping your gathering short.
- Make sure you have soap and disposable towels in your designated bathroom and keep hand sanitizer handy so guests can wash/sanitize frequently.
- When considering the menu, Covid 19 brings “new” normal to dinner party etiquette. The FDA does not currently believe coronavirus can be spread through food, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Consider making your gathering a “bring your own” for food and/or beverages.
- Limit food handling as much as possible:
- Plate up appetizers in advance for each person/couple.
- Serve food in individual portions. For example, prepare sandwiches in advance, pre-portion side dishes, serve cupcakes instead of cake.
- If food is going to be shared, identify a single person to serve. This will reduce how many people are in contact with both the food and the serving utensils.
- Avoid serving “high touch items” like chips, dips and shared condiments, or consider safe serving options.
- Designate one person to serve beverages. Use disposable cups, complete with names or initials written in marker, to avoid accidental drink swaps.
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