Enjoy Your Backyard This Summer
The transition from Spring into Summer is an excellent time to slow down, take it easy, and enjoy time in the backyard, especially with the weather getting better. As June comes to an end, we start to plan for future summer deck parties and Independence Day, which is just around the corner. Given the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing restrictions, we have to think outside the box to make this the BEST 4th of July ever! Here at SFW, we are thinking of creative ways to celebrate the holiday this year while still being safe.
As businesses in the Pacific Northwest start to open up, here are some safety tips on safely enjoying your holiday. First, prepare your house to have guests over, which includes planning the party’s logistics. The event should be kept outside as much as possible to minimize everyone’s risk.
- You were probably thinking that anyway, right?
- But, do you have all the details figured out?
- Who are you going to invite?
- How many people will be at your event?
- Do you have a direct route to your yard without going through the house?
- Are all food, drinks, and seating outside?
- Do you have a plan if it rains?
These are just a few of the questions you have to prepare for when having people over during a pandemic.
Deciding Who To Invite
Deciding who and the number of people to ask can be a challenge. Since this is not just any regular gathering, you have to be cautious about the summer deck party’s size. The more people you invite, the higher the risk of spreading the virus. Another major factor is adding kids to the celebration, as it is hard to keep them apart and from playing with their friends. Anything you can do to limit exposure will help keep you and your loved ones safe from the virus. We have to think about groups of people being spaced out six feet apart in the lawn, having sanitary stations, easy access to a bathroom, clean food areas, and protective gear. No matter what, you should stay clear of any indoor gatherings.
Things could get complicated when people have to use the restroom. However, since that is unavoidable, you can dedicate one bathroom for guests to use, people can wear masks inside your house, and you can wipe down any doorknobs or frequently touched surfaces. Provide hand sanitizer in the bathroom and other obvious indoor areas.
Unfortunately, this will not be like a typical barbecue or Independence Day celebration. You should already be prepared with a plan for people to have as few-touch points and interactions as possible. This means setting up seating arrangements to be six feet apart in groups with their own families, keeping hand sanitizer in easily accessible places, and encouraging other people to wear masks before and after eating. In short, try to follow what the best-run business establishments are doing for their own business. Things are going to feel strange, and it may be hard to accept. You cannot do the things you are accustomed to or that feel natural like handshakes and hugs. You should not even break off into smaller groups to talk privately amongst your closest friends. The moment people start breaking off into sections, they get closer and closer. It’s important to remember that these guidelines are in place to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Food And Drinks
Strategize when making your food menu to avoid multiple people breathing or handling food options. One way to do that is by eliminating veggies with ranch dip, shared condiments, bags of buns, chips, and dip, plus much more. Replacement options include individually wrapped packages of veggies, chips, pretzels, sauces, etc. In an ideal situation, individually wrapped meals would be the best-case scenario. If that is not possible and you are serving buffet-style, you will want to be extra careful to reduce how many people are breathing over or putting their hands near or on any utensils or food. The easiest way to solve this problem would be to have one person who is feeling healthy do all the serving.
You will want to make sure that the person serving and the person cooking have not recently or are not feeling ill. An alternative to that would be spreading sandwiches or burgers apart far enough so everyone could grab their own. When it comes to drinks, you have a couple of options. The best option would be to have water bottles, soda, and individual cans of adult beverages that guests can help themselves to, in a cooler or ice bucket. Or you could have a dedicated bartender who can make pitchers of drinks and be the only server to pour it into peoples’ glasses. The last recommendation would be to have people BYOB.
Lastly, you will want to check the outside area of the party. Your deck may need pressure washing or staining. Or maybe when you did a walk around your backyard, you noticed that the deck had some damage or was rotting. You must check all safety issues because the last thing you want is for someone to get injured and go to the hospital.
Enjoy Your Summer Deck Parties!
While outdoor activities tend to be safer than indoor ones, anywhere you come in direct contact with someone will generally drive the risk of infection up. So, we cannot give you a definite answer to whether or not you should host or attend a barbecue or any other gathering this holiday. There is no task that is without risk, and you need to be aware of the dangers your activities pose. By putting in place some of our suggestions, you will not only feel safer and ready to have a great time!