Caution tape, face masks, floor decals, social distancing, & live streaming!! These were all foreign concepts back when our daughter started her Confirmation journey in September. The plan was to invite the entire family to the Cathedral to witness her beautiful Confirmation in March with a lovely sit-down dinner to follow. We all know what happened to those plans. After being rescheduled a couple times, it finally landed on the first day of summer, held at our local parish, only 6 people could be in attendance, and live streaming would be made available for everyone else. This would be our first celebration since the ‘Age of Covid’ and I knew this gathering would be unlike any other event or celebration we had ever held. I wanted our guest to feel welcomed, comfortable, and most importantly, SAFE. After much contemplation, research, and careful consideration here are the main issues I addressed and as a result, 8 tips that will hopefully help you host your gatherings, events, and celebrations as we move forward, out of quarantine, and learn to live during this ‘Age of Covid’.
1-Who to Invite?
Who to invite? Great Grandparents and family members with underlying health issues are definitely out of the questions. It’s okay to inquire about the health of potential guests, you care about them, and they should in return care for you and other guests, thus, if anyone is under the weather a raincheck is the respectful response. And do remind guests that a raincheck or canceling at the last minute is totally acceptable and appreciated in the ‘Age of Covid’.
Since our gathering would be held on a hot and humid summer afternoon we knew we’d be indoors, which meant careful consideration for who would feel comfortable and welcomed indoors had to be addressed. It’s important to give guests as much information as possible and allow them to make the decision as to whether or not they feel comfortable attending. And remember health safety comes first, and no one should feel hurt if guests decide not to attend.
Invite people and families you have already been in contact with, especially if you are gathering indoors, or in a more restricted space.
2-Scrub, Clean, & Wipe Down all Community Spaces
Carefully clean, scrub, and wipe down spaces within your home that guests will be using…the kitchen, dining area, bathroom, and any additional socializing spaces should be given the “usual” cleaning in addition to being wiped down with disinfectant/bleach.
3-Greeting One Another
This can be something very personal and will vary among guests. As the host feel free to set the tone for greetings, express that a wave, bow, head nod is totally acceptable. And while most adults won’t have a problem with greetings, do remind children.
4-Make Hand Sanitizers Visible to Guests
After guests have greeted one another and since everyone is all over the board with their comfort levels, let guest know that you do have sanitizers available for their comfort, safety, and convenience. Three areas that are ideal location for hand sanitizers are; entrance/exits, near the food/beverage areas, & in the restrooms.
5-No Grazing Stations or Shareable Munchies
The age of tossing chips, salsa, dips, in a bowl, sitting out a veggie tray, or other munchies for guests to graze on when they arrive are a thing of the past. Those are perfect ‘hot-spots’ for cross contamination. You can still have something available to guest but they need to be individually wrapped.
I divided up the veggies into Ziploc sandwich bags and had individual hummus containers available for guests, as well as individual bags of chips. Likewise, if serving beverages from 2-liters, wine bottles, spirit bottles, etc. have one person, one host designated as the beverage poorer and distributor; otherwise, have individual cans of soda, beer, and/or small wine containers already chilled available for guest to grab…also have a paper towels and sanitizer nearby the beverages.
6-Disposable is Acceptable
During the ‘Age of Covid’ disposable dishes, silverware, table clothes, and even hand towels for the restroom are totally acceptable.
The Dollar Tree has this awesome pre-assembled disposable spoon, knife, and fork tucked into a disposable napkin, and it opens from the bottom, thus there is literally no worry about someone touching guests’ silverware.
Another products that’s great during the ‘Age of Covid’, these awesome disposable bathroom hand towels by Kleenex.
Speaking of disposables, consider offering your guests some face masks in case they need to change to a new one. Or you could create a small giveaway care kit and fill it with hand sanitizer, disinfectant, soap, hand lotion, masks, and gloves.
7-Assigned Seating is Acceptable
Assigned seating is totally acceptable. But instead of the assigned seating of the past where we’d try to have different family members mingle with other families and/or adults at one table and kids at another seat families that are in the same household together, like a restaurant would, and skip the kids table for the time being.
8-Have a Designated Host Distribute Food
If you are having a sit down meal have a designated host take orders and make guests’ plates for them. Or perhaps only a portion of the meal needs to be distributed by a designated host, (like sandwiches)….
basically anything that would have all the guests possibly cross contaminating anything should be distributed by one person…and it should go without saying that that individual should wash their hands first and even wear gloves if necessary.
Clean, & Wipe Down, & Scrub all Community Spaces
Just like you did before guest arrived be vigilant with staying healthy after they leave. Carefully clean, scrub, and wipe down spaces within your home that guests used…the kitchen, dining area, bathroom, and any additional socializing spaces should be wiped down with disinfectant/bleach.
And don’t forget to practice safe six for that family pic 😉
I hope you found these tips useful, please consider sharing with friends and family. It’s so important that we do get back to celebrating, gathering, and not being scared to host events, if we take the necessary precautions life can slowly get back to normal even during the ‘Age of Covid’.