The holiday season is upon us; for many it’s a time filled with gatherings of family and friends. From ugly sweater parties to Yankee Swaps, it seems like there’s never a shortage of events to attend. However, as COVID-19 transmission rates continue to climb across the nation, it’s imperative to congregate safely.
Keep yourself on the nice list and follow the tips below to safely enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones.
Although not foolproof, COVID-19 tests add reassurance. You should verify your COVID-19 status before attending an event with those who don’t live in your immediate household. Schedule an appointment in advance or purchase an at-home test at a local pharmacy like CVS or Walgreens.
Stay home if you have symptoms
No one likes to miss out on a party, but if you’re not feeling well in any way do not potentially expose others by attending an event.
Be the host or hostess with the most-est, and if anyone can’t attend or doesn’t feel comfortable at a gathering offer to FaceTime or Zoom them in.
Keep groups small to allow for proper social distancing
More isn’t necessarily merrier. Unless you’ll be outdoors for your gathering, consider the the size of your space and make sure your guest list allows for proper social distancing.
Stagger visit times
Ask some party-goers to come earlier and some later to keep the numbers small at any given time.
Ask those who are not vaccinated to stay masked for their safety
Individuals who are unvaccinated are at greater risk for exposure to COVID-19. Keep your loved ones safe by asking unvaccinated guests to wear a mask. No need to be a Grinch about it, simply explain that their safety is your concern and masks are for their own protection.
Provide hand sanitizer upon entry
Who doesn’t love a party favor? Purchase mini bottles of hand sanitizer for guests to keep close-by during the party.
Avoid the usual kissing/hugging greetings
By now, most of us are used to skipping the customary greetings like handshakes and hugs. Respect your guests’ personal space and omit the usual niceties. A warm smile and air kisses go a long way.
Keep background music low
Loud music can encourage people to move closer to talk to each other. Turning the volume down will allow your guests to stay a safe distance apart while mingling.
Have food plated by one person
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that germs are everywhere. Passing a dinner plate and utensil from person to person can increase likelihood of transmission of germs. Wash your hands before eating and designate one person to handle and plate all the food.
Reconsider seating arrangements
Get creative with your seating options. Rather than everyone eating around one dining table have your guests spread out into other rooms. You can utilize TV stands, side tables, ottomans, and more.
Use disposable/one-time use towels
Put away those embossed hand towels in the bathroom and provide your guests paper towels for hand drying to avoid cross contamination.
Lead by example
Be a trendsetter and wear a mask when you’re not eating or drinking even if you’re vaccinated. This can encourage others to wear a mask themselves. And remember, do not put masks on children younger than two years old.