After months of living in near-isolation from one another, we’re finally being told that we’re allowed to gather in groups (albeit small ones). Many of us will be desperate for some interaction with our friends and family. But there’s still reason to be cautious, as the virus is still endemic, and thus we’ll still need to take every social distancing precaution to prevent it from spreading.
Keep it Outdoors
Outdoor gatherings are a great deal safer than indoor ones thanks to ventilation. Even when the breeze is imperceptible, it’ll play a role in preventing airborne droplets from spreading from guests’ mouths. Of course, individual guests might occasionally have need to venture indoors, usually to visit the toilet. This is still allowed – provided that you control the number of people who are indoors at any given time.
Keep a Distance
For months, the two-metre rule has been in place. Now, however, it’s to be dropped in favour of a one-metre rule that’s combined with other measures, like facemasks and screens. Since most of us don’t have these to hand, it’s worth maintaining the old two-metre rule. That means no physical contact, including handshakes and hugs.
Masks work, and always have done. You could be forgiven for failing to get this, given the confusion of the messaging up until this point, but now it’s been made clear by new rules making masks essential on public transport. Even an improvised mask is better than no mask at all, so make sure that your guests wear them.
Do not share food
Communal dips are a breeding ground for pathogens at the best of times, especially if there’s a person there who engages in that shady practice known as ‘double dipping’. Honestly, you might as well be kissing. As such, dips have no place at a socially-distanced gathering. If you want to provide small treats, then go for individual portions in sealed packages, like boxes of quality toffee.
When you sing, you expel a far greater volume of air from your mouth, and far more forcibly. Communal singing, where the singers are all standing next to one another, is even more problematic. If you want to limit this risk, then avoid singing.
Provide handwashing facilities
Washing hands with soapy water is the best way to get them clean. But the second best way is with the help of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Provide it in small bottles in your outdoor area, and get hands clean prior to any serving of food.