In what feels like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, we were inundated with summer entertaining ideas and articles this time of year. The latest trends in pool parties, carnivals, summer concerts, barbecues and other summertime activities would flood our social media feeds.
And while entertaining friends and family is not completely off the table in our current climate, many are conflicted about how, when and where to proceed with gatherings.
With the nation still widely in flux as far as being in different phases and stages of reopening, combined with wildly opposing views on social distancing (or not), it has never been more confusing to determine the right time and place to host even a small-scale event.
The face of home entertaining has changed and will continue to remain in a transitional period for the foreseeable future. But in an effort to stay connected, celebrate the summer and sort out at least a little confusion, take a look at our guide for what to expect and how to safely plan a small summer outdoor gathering.
In terms of safety and the spread of COVID-19, how many people should I invite for a summer party?
The answer may vary depending on what phase of reopening your state is in. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Phase One recommends capping the number of people at 10, with social distancing.
Phase Two raises the cap to 50, provided people can maintain social distancing. With that said, the CDC explains that “larger gatherings (for example, more than 250 people) offer more opportunities for person-to-person contact and therefore pose greater risk of COVID-19 transmission.”
Should I request that my guests wear a face mask at my event?
Evidence confirms that face masks do help reduce the spread of COVID-19. The World Health Organization and Mayo Clinic offer further insight into what types of masks are best and how to wear them properly. Consider hosting an outdoor event at a local park or more open space if your home presents distancing and/or mask challenges. And it never hurts to have extra masks and sanitizer available for your guests.
What other safety precautions should I take if I’m hosting a summer party?
No matter what phase your state is in as far as reopening, many of the initial safety guidelines are still in play: wash hands frequently, stay socially distanced at least 6 feet apart, limit the risk of touching/sharing items and frequently disinfect commonly handled surface areas.
I want to host a pool party. Is it safe?
Good news here — straight from the CDC website: “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds.”
That said, the previously mentioned guidelines are still important to consider. To help ensure social distancing, consider limiting tables where proximity and touching surfaces will be more difficult to monitor. Space your backyard seating 6 feet apart. Set up stations with hand sanitizer. If feeding guests, why not provide premade grab-and-go sandwich baskets or bags?
I’m having a difficult time narrowing my guest list to a small number, but safety is important to me. Suggestions?
Celebrating a graduation, birthday or other event that beckons a bigger gathering? Consider a two-part party.
While this may seem like twice the work, it may be worth a little extra effort to plan on two smaller gatherings on different days rather than one big bash. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an honoree who will object to being the center of celebration on more than one occasion!
I feel concerned that I might offend my friends who aren’t ready or cannot be around people due to health risks by throwing a party. What should I do?
First, know you are not alone in this scenario. Many people are struggling with how to best accommodate friends and family with varying needs and opinions when it comes to in-person gatherings.
While keeping in mind that sometimes you simply can’t please everyone, one avenue to attempt may be a “hybrid party.”
Since many virtual platforms (Zoom, Facebook Rooms, Google Meet, etc.) allow for several virtual attendees, rig one of your flat-screens to your laptop to include those who crave connection, but are unable for in-person connection to share in the “live” fun.